June 17, 2014FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — It's down to one. The Forsyth County Board of Education has selected Jeff Bearden as the lone finalist for superintendent of schools.
"We were impressed by the caliber of applicants," said Darla Light, chairperson of the Forsyth County Board of Education. "Our community provided us input to determine the qualifications and characteristics of the next superintendent of schools, and we have determined that Jeff Bearden is the best person to lead our district.
"Our next step is to negotiate a contract, and plan for final approval in late June."
Bearden, the superintendent of the Rome School System, has served as a school executive for over 25 years.
"Forsyth County Schools is the premiere school district in Georgia," said Bearden in a news release. "I look forward to working collaboratively with all stakeholders to take an outstanding school system to an even higher level of student growth and achievement."
Before Rome, Bearden was superintendent of Fayette County Public Schools.
A Georgia native, Bearden spent the first part of his educational career in Maine where he served as superintendent of the Maine School Administrative District No. 35 and the Limestone School Department.
Bearden also served as an assistant superintendent, assistant principal and district athletic director.
He taught social studies and language arts and was a varsity basketball coach.
Bearden has two daughters and one son. His wife Lisa is an elementary school teacher.
The couple plans to relocate to Forsyth County.
"I feel that my entire career has led me to Forsyth County Schools and I am prepared for the challenge," Bearden said. "It is my educational philosophy, and research supports, that the best schools and the best school systems are the ones where home, school and community work together."
The search for a new superintendent started earlier this year when Forsyth County School Superintendent L.C. "Buster" Evans announced he would step down from his post and take on a new job with the state.
Gov. Nathan Deal tapped Evans to increase the number of inmates with high school diplomas at state prisons.
Evans will join the Department of Corrections as the assistant commissioner of education effective July 1 and will retire from county schools on June 30.
During the transition, the Forsyth County Board of Education hired Keith Porter, Dawson County School's former superintendent, as interim superintendent.