When the Dougherty County School Board meets this morning in a special session -- its first meeting of the new year -- it is expected to take up two important issues:
-- No. 1, the board is expected to make a decision on who will head the system on a temporary basis while it searches for a permanent superintendent;
-- No. 2, the board is expected to decide which of its members will serve as chair and vice chair of the organization.
Neither of these decisions can be taken lightly.
There are three candidates to serve as interim superintendent: Roy Brooks, most recently the superintendent a few miles up the road in the Sumter County School District; David "Butch" Mosely, a Southwest Georgia native who has served as school chief just south of Dougherty in Mitchell County, among other districts, and Franklin Perry, former superintendent of the Twiggs County District.
The fortunate aspect of this search is that the board is taking a much more deliberate approach than in 2010, when a majority of the members short-circuited the process. That action created a great deal of doubt in the selection process and the selection itself.
While the person chosen today is expected to serve a brief time, it will be a critical period. The Dougherty County School District is facing a number of issues and needs strong leadership to direct it through them. The 16,000 students need a doer in the administration building, someone who will move the system forward.
That will also give the School Board time to make a quality decision on who will be called upon to lead the system on a permanent basis. By making a good decision today, the board will have the time it needs to make a decision later that will benefit the students.
Leadership at the superintendent level is critical, but so is leadership at the board level. This group has the potential to provide stronger leadership than in the past. And while the chair is only one of seven votes when issues come before the board, the chair is in position to set the agenda for the School Board. A strong, fair and decisive person needs to be selected to wield the gavel.
There is no such thing as a "reset" in life. The problems -- and the good things -- that have occurred in the past will necessarily carry over into this year and the future.
What can change, however, is how those issues are dealt with. Agendas can be scrapped except for one -- to ensure Dougherty County students are taught and taught well, and given the best opportunity possible to advance in life after they have completed high school.
If that is on the forefront of everyone's mind, solutions can be found and progress can be made.
-- The Albany Herald Editorial Board