CONYERS — The Rockdale County Board of Education voted Monday to hire Dr. Terry O. Oatts as the school system’s new superintendent, effective May 30.

Oatts is currently assistant superintendent for student achievement in Fayette County. He was named the sole finalist for the Rockdale position in April following a months-long, nation-wide search guided by the Georgia School Boards Association. The vote to hire Oatts was unanimous, with board member Pam Brown absent. The vote in April to name him the sole finalist was unanimous with all members present.

“We congratulate Dr. Oatts on becoming our next superintendent,” said board Chairman Jim McBrayer in a released statement. “We are confident he will be a great leader to continue our tradition of excellence as we move forward with our strategic plan and continuous improvement.”

Under Oatts’ contract with the school system, he will be paid an annual salary of $190,000 with an annual incentive bonus of up to 5 percent based on performance. The initial contract is for three years and can be extended for three-year intervals.

Oatts’ base salary is slightly less than his predecessor’s. Former superintendent Richard Autry’s contract was last renewed in January 2016 at an annual base rate of $192,937, along with a minimum annual 5 percent cost of living adjustment and a maximum 5 percent peformance bonus. Autry’s predecessor, Dr. Samuel King, was paid an annual base salary of $200,000. Autry was hired in 2012 at a base rate of $175,000.

Oatts will receive the same personal leave, sick leave and vacation as other 12-month employees in the system, as well as the same life, major medical and dental insurance benefits. He will also have a vehicle provided by the school system that he can use in the performance of his duties, but not for purely personal use, and he will be provided a cell phone and computer technology.

The school system will pay for all reasonable expenses for travel and lodging, professional association dues and fees, and costs of attending professional conferences and meetings on the national, state and local levels. Prior board approval will be required for attendance at or participation in any professional development event of program that costs more than $2,000.

The board also stipulated that, in the case that Oatts is involved in a vehicle accident in his school system-issued vehicle or his driver’s license is suspended, revoked or seized, he will report to the board chairman immediately, but in no case later than 24 hours from the accident.

Former superintendent Autry abruptly retired from the school system last October after he was involved in an auto accident in Henry County and was charged with DUI.

Oatts began his career in education as a long-term substitute at Metter Elementary School in 1994 and advanced to administrative roles. He has been assistant superintendent of student achievement in Fayette County since 2014. Prior to that, he served as principal at Dutchtown High School in Hampton, principal at Woodland Middle School in Stockbridge, principal of Stockbridge Elementary School, assistant principal at Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, assistant principal at Glynn Academy High School in Brunswick, a family counselor with Southeast Regional Troubled Children’s Committee, and as a counselor at two schools in Brunswick.

Oatts has also taught at the college level at Georgia Southern, Troy University, Georgia State University, Argosy University of Atlanta and Mercer University.

Oatts holds a bachelor of science, master of education, education specialist, an education leadership certificate and doctor of education degrees — all from Georgia Southern University.

Rockdale Citizen

Alice Queen 5/8/2018