HENRY COUNTY, Ga. -- After a eventful search, the Henry County School District has finally named a new superintendent.
On Tuesday, the Henry County Board of Education voted to name Dr. Mary Elizabeth Davis as the district's 15th superintendent.
Davis comes from Cobb County Public Schools where she spent three years as the chief academic officer. Before that, she was a teacher and administrators in other Georgia school districts and served as a presidential appointee to the U.S. Department of Education and a U.S. Senate Education Police Advisor.
“It is with great excitement I share our confidence in Dr. Davis’s ability to lead our district to new heights while also bringing our community together in the effort of ensuring success for each student,” said Dr. Pam Nutt, Chair of the Board of Education. “Her professionalism, her expertise, and the admiration of her peers from around the state will afford Henry County the continued respect it has gained over the years.”
In her own statement, Davis said she is excited to join the teachers, leaders and staff of Henry County Schools and looks forward to beginning "the next chapter of this important work."
The announcement of a new superintendent comes after a search full of twists and turns, mired in accusations of racial preference.
Dr. Timothy Gadson had been the sole finalist for the position before suddenly being turned down on July 10. Georgia Sen. Emanuel Jones raised questions about why the offer had been rescinded at all. Gasdon would have been the district's first African-American superintendent, and the NAACP debated whether it would get involved.
He, along with other legislators, asked the state's accrediting agency, AdvancED, to launch an investigation into the district's search. The agency confirmed that it would look into whether the county conducted the search fairly. The board maintains that Gasdon simply asked for too much money, but Jones said he believed the board caved to pressure from the community.
Despite that, Henry County reopened the search with hopes to fill the position by Nov. 1. Current superintendent Randy Bowler's last day is Tuesday, Oct. 31.
Davis' first official day is Nov. 8.