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Details released on superintendent finalists

The names of the three finalists for the superintendent’s job with the Fayette County School System were announced Tuesday night at a meeting of the Fayette County Board of Education. The finalists included former school system Assistant Superintendent Lyn Wenzel, Dr. Jeffrey Byron Bearden, of Maine, and Dr. Roy “Cole” Pugh, of Texas.

Provided below is information taken from the applications submitted to the school system. The information was released by the school system on Wednesday.

Lyn Wenzel-
Wenzel on her application listed her current employer as the Georgia Dept. of Education where she serves has State Director since 2009 at a salary of $70,000.

Wenzel worked with the Fayette County School System from 1990-2009, during which time she served as Assistant Principal at Flat Rock Middle School, Principal at J.C. Booth Middle School and, from 2002-2005, as the school system’s curriculum director. Wenzel served as Assistant Superintendent from 2005-009. Wenzel also taught in Clayton County from 1979-1990.

Wenzel holds a Ed.S. in Administration and Supervision, along with a M.Ed and a B.S.Ed. in Health and Physical Education from West Georgia College. She also received certifications in Middle Grades and Administration and Supervision from Georgia State University.

Responding to why she wants to come to the Fayette County School System, Wenzel said, “I have a burning passion to become the next Superintendent of Fayette County Schools. Having worked in the school system almost twenty years,I have a deep commitment to the students, families, and business leaders of Fayette County. Specifically, I will work tirelessly with abundant energy and excitement to see that Fayette County is a world-class learning organization. My most distinctive talent is the leadership ability to build and affirm the shared values necessary to take the system to the next level of excellence. My heart belongs to Fayette County Schools and that deep level of emotional attachment translates to a laser-like focus on the success of the organization, the students and families we serve, and the community.”

Stating her education philosophy, Wenzel said, “A successful school system is one where all stakeholders work together to achieve excellence, regardless of obstacles. The vision, mission, and goals are clearly articulated and understood, becoming the focus of all efforts.”
“A successful school system places a priority on high achievement for all students. To accomplish this, successful schools focus on individual students, instructional leadership, financial responsibility, safe and orderly schools, high expectations, rigorous standards, best instructional practices, and productive school and community partnerships.”
“A successful school system utilizes resources like technology and human capital to streamline operations and enhance instruction. A successful school system is focused on the future and providing a world-class education for all students,” Wenzel said.

Dr. Jeffrey Byron Bearden-
Bearden on the application listed his current employer as Maine School Administrative District 35 (Marshwood District) in Eliot, Maine where he serves as Superintendent of Schools at a salary of $128,500.

Bearden has served as Superintendent since 2007 and as an Adjunct Professor at Nova Southeastern University in North Miami, Fla. since 2006. Prior to that time he served as Assistant Superintendent for Business in the Maine School Administrative District from 2001-2006. Bearden served as Superintendent in the Limestone School Department from 1999-2001, as Assistant Principal at Presque Isle High School (Maine) from 1996-1999, as District Athletic Administrator and Social Studies teacher from 1992-1996 and, also in the Limestone District, as an Language Arts teacher from 1990-1992 and varsity girls basketball coach from 1984-1992.

Bearden received and Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in 2003 and a M.Ed. in Educational Administration from the University of Maine in 1995. Bearden also holds a B.S. in Secondary Eduction from the University of Maine. He has published papers on topics such as retaining teachers, employee wellness, tobacco use and learning techniques.

Responding to why he wants to come to the school system, Bearden said, “The Fayette County School System is a place to live and work. I have had the opportunity to spend time in your community while visiting with my parents who live in Fayetteville. For me, it is the ideal job in the ideal location. I have been following your school district through your website and the media for several years. Your commitment to providing a quality educational program to the students you serve is impressive. I have listened to your Board podcasts and have read your strategic plan and the annual report. It is obvious to me that Fayette County would be a good fit for me personally and professionally.”
“Your district is much larger than the one I currently serve. However, I am convinced that if given an opportunity to interview for the position, the Board of Education will be excited about my candidacy. I have spent my entire adult life in leadership positions. I feel I am well prepared for this challenge. I am persistent, passionate, and resilient.”
“The superintendent is the ‘face’ of the district. I believe the Board would find me to have excellent communication skills and an engaging personality. The Board would also find me to be well prepared not only for the interview process but, if selected, in all aspects of my profession. ‘Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.’ I am ready for this new challenge in my professional life. I welcome the opportunity to discuss with the Board of Education how together we can make an already very successful school district even better,” Bearden said.

Stating his education philosophy, Bearden said he had “...established ten guiding principles that have served me will over the years and I believe these principles to be the elements of a successful school system:
1) Failure is unacceptable - We must diagnose early and prescribe to our students only methods that have evidence of success.
2) Students who have less must be given more - In order to level the playing field, children with the greatest needs must be provided the necessary resources, support, and time in order to close the achievement gap.
3) All students learn; as educators we must understand how they learn - A variety of instructional strategies and assessments is essential.
4) Students who are behind must work harder, longer, and under conditions that offer the possibility of success.
5) We must know our students well - Education is a relationship business.
6) Data must drive our decisions - Students work - outcomes - must determine the agenda for teacher work. We must document evidence of learning.
7) The culture of the school must be conducive to teaching and learning - schools must be safe.
8) Stay focused on the goal of student achievement - With a tough economy, it is easy to lose our focus on what is most important. School leaders cannot allow this to happen.
9) Form partnerships between home, school, and community. We must work together.
10) Celebrate success - Demonstrate support, appreciation, and respect for all students, faculty, and staff.”

Dr. Roy “Cole” Pugh-
On his application, Pugh listed is current employer as the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District (ISD) in Ft. Worth, Texas, where he serves as Superintendent at a salary of $195,000.

Pugh has held the position at Eagle Mountain-Saginaw since 2006. Prior to that time and since 1983, Pugh has served as Superintendent at six other Texas school district. In all but one of those positions, Pugh said he moved to take a position in a larger school district. Pugh’s career in education began in 1973 where he taught school, coached and served as Principal in other Texas communities.

Pugh earned an Ed.D. in Administration & Supervision from the University of Houston in 1988, a M.Ed. in Physical Education and Education from Stephen F. Austin State University in 1973 and, also from the same university, a B.S. in Health & Physical Education in 1972. Pugh has published several papers on curriculum management and budgeting and has been a presenter at more than two dozen regional, state and national conferences.

Responding on why he wants to come to the Fayette County School System, Pugh said, “I have studied the Fayette County Public Schools vacancy announcement and find it to be an excellent school system. Fayette County would be an excellent place to live and work and for our children to attend school. My knowledge, skills, and experiences meet the characteristics that the Board of Education is seeking."

Stating his education philosophy, Pugh said, “The board and superintendent must function as the leadership team to provide the vision, direction and support necessary for a successful school system. Comprehensive planning should be used to focus resources on priorities. Two-way communication with district stakeholders is a vital component, along with family and community involvement.”
“There should be a focus on the academic performance of students. Educators must ensure that students perform well on state and national accountability measures. This calls for a quality written curriculum, effective teaching practices, formative and summative assessments, and data analysis. We must go beyond that level of accomplishment to prepare students to function as effective citizens, live personally satisfying live, and contribute to and improve society.”
“It is important to provide a comprehensive program for students, including academic and extra-curricular activities in a safe environment.”
“Skilled employees should be provided with resources such as facilities, technology, and professional development. Most employees do the best job that they can every day, based on their current level of knowledge and skill. It is the responsibility of the district to provide quality professional development opportunities,” Pugh said.

Board Chairman Terri Smith announced Tuesday that the new superintendent will be chosen at a future meeting of the school board. 



Wenzel would be a disaster as superintendent. She is NOT impressive (i.e., not very smart) and has alienated many teachers because of her inconsistent and often lackluster performance. Morale would drop - even further - if she is chosen. She lacks the skills, intelligence, understanding, and personality that Fayette County desperately needs at this time. She is a bureaucrat - and not an very good one. School system employees have little respect for her. She is NOT a leader.

Who on the board favors her? Who doesn't? Will it be another 3-2? or is she just there to fill spot?

For those of us who have been concerned that the school board would be trying to hire people from within the system, the two external candidates sound awesome. Not only do they both have extensive superintendent experience, they both have PhDs, are involved in scholarly work and educational research, and seem to support a focus on students and teachers. How soon can we get one of them here?

Just Asking

If I had a vote,Bearden would be packing his bags! All the Educational/Leadership qualifications and parental ties to the county. Sounds like a winner to me!

I think some will ask why did DeCotis make over $220,000 as a district Super and this fellow makes $120,000!
Another case of long-term seniority paying too much when the output of the person gets even easier to do and is no better than 20 years ago!

There should be a lot more to evaluating a person for this job than a degree or two from somewhere and 2-3 years experience as a Super.
He may have the go get it, I don't know, but I wonder if he has been properly vetted and evaluated by experts, also.

I was going to include a link to the GSBA presentation that showed the searches they have completed but - big surprise - it appears to have been removed from the FCBOE website. Can someone please tell the administrators that best practices for open records means that the system managers actually don't remove the posted attachments? I have had this happen so many times that I now automatically save any documents that I might want to reference which is what I did with the superintendent presentation. Listed below are the GSBA searches (reverse chronological order)that have been completed which made me feel more confident about their capabilities. I am satisfied with two of the three choices. I understand that the GSBA has placed several superintendents from outside Georgia which is totally warranted in this search.

5120 Sugarloaf Parkway
Lawrenceville, Georgia 30043


School System FY CONDUCTED Student Enrollment
1. Lamar County Schools 1988 2,300
2. Glynn County Schools 1989 10,500
3. Charlton County Schools 1989 1,800
4. Savannah/Chatham Schools 1991 34,000
5. Butts County Schools 1990 2,700
6. Dublin City Schools 1988 3,700
7. Carroll County Schools 1987 10,500
8. Liberty County Schools 1988 7,400
9. Spalding County Schools 1989 11,000
10. Sumter County Schools 1987 2,150
11. Hall County Schools 1989 13,000
12. Atlanta City Schools 1987 61,000
13. Social Circle City Schools 1989 1,000
14. Coffee County Schools 1989 6,200
15. Gwinnett County Schools 1989 61,000
16. Cartersville City Schools 1989 2,450
17. Baldwin County Schools 1990 6,000
18. Muscogee County Schools 1990 30,500
19. McDuffie County Schools 1991 4,040
20. Troup County Schools 1991 5,350
21. Harris County Schools 1991 2,700
22. Clarke County Schools 1991 10,000
23. Rockdale County Schools 1992 11,150
24. Cobb County Schools 1992 73,000
25. Newton County Schools 1993 8,162
26. Jefferson County Schools 1993 3,700
27. Marietta City Schools 1993 5,670
28. Walker County Schools 1993 8,850
29. Glynn County Schools 1993 10,500
30. Thomasville City Schools 1993 3,700
31. Colquitt County Schools 1994 7,741
32. Jefferson City Schools 1994 1,003
33. Jenkins County Schools 1994 1,750
34. Pulaski County Schools 1993 1,624

35. Social Circle City Schools 1994 1,152
36. Griffin-Spalding County Schools 1994 10,200
37. Tift County Schools 1994 7,650
38. Thomaston-Upson County Schools 1995 4,887
39. Decatur County Schools 1995 5,948
40. Dougherty County Schools 1995 18,600
41. Liberty County Schools 1995 11,000
42. Lumpkin County Schools 1995 2,660
43. Walton County Schools 1995 7,636
44. Valdosta City Schools 1995 7,464
45. Warren County Schools 1995 1,160
46. Haralson County Schools 1996 3,100
47. Wilkes County Schools 1996 2,217
48. Dalton City Schools 1996 4,415
49. Oglethorpe County Schools 1996 1,920
50. Bibb County Schools 1996 24,964
51. Twiggs County Schools 1996 1,900
52. Paulding County Schools 1996 11,315
53. Brantley County Schools 1996 2,850
54. Fayette County Schools 1996 16,899
55. Dawson County Schools 1996 2,022
56. Franklin County Schools 1996 3,308
57. Seminole County Schools 1996 1,953
58. Bryan County Schools 1996 5,019
59. Bulloch County Schools 1996 8,604
60. Miller County Schools 1996 1,300
61. Peach County Schools 1996 4,420
62. Murray County Schools 1996 5,833
63. Atkinson County Schools 1996 1,482
64. Talbot County Schools 1996 943
65. Hall County Schools 1996 16,747
66. Mitchell County Schools 1998 2,919
67. Glascock County Schools 1996 466
68. Washington County Schools 1996 3,700
69. Colquitt County Schools 1996 8,062
70. Carroll County Schools 1997 11,200
71. Butts County Schools 1997 3,046
72. Jeff Davis County Schools 1997 2,700
73. Crawford County Schools 1997 1,868
74. Henry County Schools 1996 16,000
75. Randolph County Schools 1996 1,950
76. Trion City Schools 1997 1,200
77. Grady County Schools 1998 4,700

78. Barrow County Schools 1998 7,500
79. Houston County Schools 1998 19,850
80. Habersham County Schools 1998 5,404
81. Cook County Schools 1998 2,872
82. Whitfield County Schools 1998 10,300
83. Madison County Schools 1998 4,500
84. Dooly County Schools 1998 1,876
85. Chattooga County Schools 1998 2,943
86. Lee County Schools 1998 5,053
87. Gilmer County Schools 1998 3,378
88. Pierce County Schools 1998 3,054
89. Emanuel County Schools 1998 4,747
90. Glynn County Schools 1999 11,400
91. Wayne County Schools 1999 4,901
92. Candler County Schools 1999 1,830
93. Treutlen County Schools 1999 1,275
94. Murray County Schools 1999 6,308
95. Ben Hill County Schools 1999 3,588
96. Screven County Schools 1999 3,200
97. Troup County Schools 1999 11,122
98. Stewart County Schools 1999 893
99. Pickens County Schools 1999 3,625
100. McIntosh County Schools 1999 1,830
101. Bibb County Schools 1999 24,784
102. Hart County Schools 1999 3,431
103. Carroll County Schools 1999 11,800
104. Oconee County Schools 1999 5,223
105. Monroe County Schools 2000 3,690
106. Clay County Schools 1999 383
107. Atkinson County Schools 1999 1,560
108. Colquitt County Schools 2000 8,408
109. Glynn County Schools 2000 11,600
110. Evans County Schools 2000 2,009
111. Clarke County Schools 2000 11,343
112. Haralson County Schools 2000 3,648
113. Franklin County Schools 2000 3,600
114. White County Schools 2000 3,286
115. Jenkins County Schools 2000 1,782
116. Chattahoochee County Schools 2000 511
117. Worth County Schools 2000 4,300
118. Laurens County Schools 2000 5,720
119. Polk School District 2000 6,738
120. Lanier County Schools 2001 1,346
121. Dalton Public Schools 2001 5,100
122. Jasper County Schools 2001 2,081
123. Peach County Schools 2001 4,250
124. Floyd County Schools 2001 10,057
125. Sumter County Schools 2002 5,650
126. Walker County Schools 2002 8,650
127. Fannin County Schools 2002 3,275
128. Laurens County Schools 2002 6,069
129. Pulaski County Schools 2002 1,603
130. Warren County Schools 2003 897
131. Lee County Schools 2003 5,396
132. Brooks County Schools 2003 2,620
133. Rome City Schools 2003 5,350
134. Decatur City Schools 2003 2,504
135. Dawson County Schools 2003 3,036
136. Oglethorpe County Schools 2003 2,233
137. Johnson County Schools 2003 1,384
138. Bartow County Schools 2003 13,275
139. Bulloch County Schools 2003 8,450
140. Banks County Schools 2003 2,410
141. Whitfield County Schools 2003 12,030
142. Ben Hill County Schools 2003 3,395
143. Murray County Schools 2003 7,525
144. Dooly County Schools 2004 1,528
145. Clayton County Schools 2004 50,800
146. Walton County Schools 2004 10,717
147. McDuffie County Schools 2004 4,264
148. Wayne County Schools 2004 5,300
149. Franklin County Schools 2004 3,624
150. Polk School District 2004 7,000
151. Gilmer County Schools 2005 4,048
152. Candler County Schools 2005 1,932
153 Troup County Schools 2005 12,050
154. Putnam County Schools 2005 2,642
155. Oconee County Schools 2005 5,570
156. Dade County Schools 2005 2,620
157. Whitfield County Schools 2005 12,483
158. Jones County Schools 2005 5,305
159. Bartow County Schools 2005 14,436
160. Rockdale County Schools 2005 14,813
161. Sumter County Schools 2005 5,700
162. Effingham County Schools 2005 9,640
163. Tattnall County Schools 2005 3,366
164. Long County Schools 2005 2,106
165. Elbert County Schools 2005 3,614
166. Glynn County Schools 2005 11,901
167. Haralson County Schools 2006 3,700
168. Greene County Schools 2006 2,200
169. McIntosh County Schools 2006 1,930
170. Ware County Schools 2006 6,341
171. Chattahoochee County Schools 2006 732
172. Calhoun County Schools 2006 711
173. Brantley County Schools 2006 3,470
174. Taliaferro County Schools 2006 270
175. Webster County Schools 2006 414
176. Atkinson County Schools 2006 1,762
177. Tift County Schools 2007 7,616
178. Richmond County Schools 2007 33,377
179. Thomaston-Upson County Schools 2007 4,927
180. Forsyth County Schools 2007 25,859
181. Pelham City Schools 2007 1,578
182. Early County Schools 2007 2,519
183. Bulloch County Schools 2007 8,997
184. Lanier County Schools 2007 1,602
185. Hart County Schools 2007 3,600
186. Worth County Schools 2007 3,989
187. Grady County Schools 2007 4,386
188. Bleckley County Schools 2007 2,453
189. Liberty County Schools 2007 10,853
190. Bartow County Schools 2008 14,875
191. Floyd County Schools 2008 10,600
192. Monroe County Schools 2008 3,903
193. Haralson County Schools 2008 3,750
194. Wheeler County Schools 2008 1,016
195. Long County Schools 2008 2,330
196. Wilkinson County Schools 2009 1,650
197. Stephens County Schools 2009 4,265
198. Emanuel County Schools 2009 4,500
199. Harris County Schools 2009 4,922
200. Griffin-Spalding County Schools 2009 10,794
201. Wayne County Schools 2009 5,417
202. Crisp County Schools 2009 4,078
203. McDuffie County Schools 2009 4,257
204. Jasper County Schools 2010 2,240
205. Carroll County Schools 2010 15,000
206. Dougherty County Schools 2010 16,234
207. Sumter County Schools 2010 5,218
208. Oglethorpe County Schools 2010 2,436
209. Douglas County Schools 2010 24,786
210. Newton County Schools 2010 19,685

Just Asking

I spoke with friends in Kittery and York, Maine and they told me that Dr. Bearden is well respected in the SE Maine area.

Mary Kay Bacallao's picture

I think it is important to have a terminal degree in education to serve as a superintendent. Many teachers and administrators now have terminal degrees in the field of education. A doctorate from the University of Houston is more impressive by far than a doctorate from Nova Southeastern. Nova Southeastern is known in South Florida for high tuition and lower than average requirements.

I agree with Ms. Baccallao about the superiority of a degree from U. of Houston and its like (I hold a Nova degree). Many educators take the online route for degrees because of its convenience, and many of us do obtain additional degrees for the extra pay it affords us. The organization of the pay scale for educators is seriously flawed in this way, but I do not have a well-considered alternative. I will finally get to my point and offer that a fresh face with apparent interest in school improvement, through having pursued advanced study, and possessing a minimum of local cronies brings the most promise to our fine-but-struggling school system. Anyone who feels they can influence the board to make a decision that is BEST FOR OUR STUDENTS, please do so. (Lord knows the teachers have no such influence.) Keep Ms. Wenzel in retirement.

What does "terminal degree" mean? I know it is a PhD in education---not basket weaving, but why is it necessary? Good people don't have them!

Since we have so many with "bought" degrees anymore (high percentage in Atlanta and Fulton) we need to put more time and emphasis on leadership and capability than Podunk U. Or even Phoenix, or North Dakota Northern by wire.
Wouldn't hurt to see exactly what has been done with the "doctorates," either. I've known a few clunkers who use the title.
Dr. Benjamin Franklin had his when he was born!

Gee, Courthouserules, that's kinda harsh. I don't hold a doctorate, but I know I could if I put my mind to it; I'm a good person now and I would still be one once in possession of a PhD! AND, I would still be a good teacher and leader. Reverse snobbery IS in vogue these days.

Sorry, I had no such intention; my wording was unclear about PhDs.
It should have said: SOME good people don't have Phds. (meaning those SOME are natural leaders and self taught or born that way)
It is sometimes ridiculous for instance to hire retail clerks only who have a Notre Dame degree!
I recall that my 4th and 5th grade teacher had a HS education and maybe one year at business school. She knew how to teach English, spelling and simple math however. Her paddle was used only for not doing homework.

First thing they do is get you down to their level, then they beat you to death with experience.

The dynamics within the schools of Fayette county have changed in the last few years. The new superintendent must "see" the county with clear eyes and present ideas to insure the stability of our schools which meets the needs of ALL our students. Two of the candidates would have a more open view of the county then the in-state candidate. If Fayette county schools want to continue being touted as one of the best, we need fresh ideas and NOT "the good old boys or girls" format. The in-state candidate has never worked in the role of superintendent but as an assistant superintendent. One of the candidate has changes jobs on an average of every 4 years and has already resigned from his previous position. Do we want to look for another super in 4 years? The final candidate appears to be well qualified and does have a vested interested in the county with his family living in the area. He should have the new ideas, we need, and the commitment to the county due to a family base. Bearden appears to fit our needs.


Apparently it's more important to leave three children in Maine without a dad to spend time with an ailing father. There ARE two ex-wives in Maine and three children between them and two ex-stepchildren (if there is such a term). All I can say is make sure that all of the girls in high school wear uniforms to the knee at least. Not saying he's not smart, book smart for sure, savvy talker? Without question......

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