Local News

February 12, 2013

Rhonda Hayes sole finalist for Crisp County superintendent

Rhonda Hayes says she is “very excited” to be the only finalist for superintendent of Crisp County Schools.

Hayes plans to resign as a Dalton Public Schools assistant superintendent, but says she is waiting until Feb. 22 to be officially offered the position by the Crisp County school board after a “wait period” mandated by state law.

“I’m anxious,” Hayes said. “I just started thinking of the next step for my career and looking at what district would be best for me. And this opened up and it’s very near where I grew up in Albany. I went to Cordele (the county seat in Crisp County) as a little girl with my granddaddy to help him sell watermelons and my daddy owned a farm there, so I’m very familiar with that area. And I thought, this will be a good place for me.”

Hayes came to Dalton after following her husband, Whitfield County Schools Superintendent Danny Hayes, “all around the country.” At the time she had 21 years as a teacher and nine years as a school administrator.

“He told me to go for this job,” Hayes said of her husband. “It’s going to be a little tough with him far away — he’s going to keep working here as long as he can. Cordele is four hours away from Dalton, but we’ve worked far apart before. We’ve been married 31 years and we know how to adapt. It’s just a great career opportunity and it is easy for us now that we don’t have young children.”

Working in the Dalton school system “will be something I’ll miss,” Hayes added. Dalton Superintendent Jim Hawkins returned the sentiment.

“While I am excited that Rhonda will be able to pursue her career goal of becoming a superintendent, I regret having to lose her passion, commitment and dedication in Dalton Public Schools,” Hawkins said in a press release. “Rhonda’s influences will have lasting impact in our schools. I wish her all the best in her future endeavor.”

Hayes said Hawkins will also have a lasting impact on her.

“I have had the opportunity to work with two of the finest superintendents in the United States,” she said. “Orval Porter (former city school superintendent) and Jim Hawkins ... they have taught me so much and I’m very thankful for them. I’ll miss working here so much.”

Hayes holds a doctorate of philosophy in educational policy studies with an emphasis on leadership and learning from Georgia State University, a master’s degree in education from Georgia Southwestern State University, and a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Georgia Southwestern State University. She received her national board teacher certification in 2000.

“She is such a well-rounded individual and has the energy and desire to make a difference,” Lydia Adkins, a member of the Crisp County Board of Education who chaired the search committee, told the Cordele Dispatch newspaper. “We wanted someone who had taught and come up through the ranks. She really impressed us with her knowledge of the Crisp County community. She had researched the county and learned what the school system is doing and even had ideas for improvement.”

“We believe she will be a ‘good fit’ for us,” Adkins said.

The Cordele paper reported, “Even though (Superintendent Jay) Brinson’s retirement is not official until the end of June, the new superintendent will be coming to Crisp County before then, and Brinson will be working with her in an advisory position, Adkins said.”

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