CONYERS — The Rockdale County Board of Education has named Rich Autry, chief academic officer in the Office of Teaching & Learning at Rockdale County Public Schools, as its next superintendent.
During a special called session Monday afternoon, the board unanimously selected Autry, who has been a chief academic officer since 2008.
The move will be effective July 1, subject to a contract being reviewed by general counsel Jack Lance and finalized. The annual base salary will be $175,000.
The board had been using the Georgia School Boards Association as a search agency for its next superintendent; current Superintendent Samuel King announced his resignation in May. Conyers resident and GSBA consultant Billy Johnson currently is serving as interim superintendent.
GSBA plans to refund its $8,000 fee that the school board already paid for the search, according to school board Chair Wales Barksdale. The board expected to spend up to $10,000 for the search.
"The board began to follow the process used when previous superintendents left the system, and that process quickly revealed we already had the most qualified candidate in the system senior staff, so we began discussions, which led us to this point," Barksadale said.
School board Vice Chair Jean Yontz added that the decision will help with "continuity" and a seamless transition.
"We've come a long way, and we want to continue to go that way," she said.
Autry first came to RCPS in 1993 as a teacher, and then worked in Butts County before returning to RCPS as principal of Hightower Trail Elementary School in 2000. He was principal for six years until being promoted to assistant superintendent for Support Services and then for the Office of Teaching and Learning.
"I am excited," Autry said during Monday's meeting, which interrupted a previously planned vacation. "I appreciate the support."
Autry said he is "indebted" to King, who he calls a friend and a mentor.
"Things he modeled and taught me and the things we learned together will serve us well," Autry said.
Return to www.rockdalecitizen.com for more updates as they become available.