Dr. Jeffrey Bearden is the new superintendent of the Fayette County School System. A unanimous vote by the Fayette County Board of Education Tuesday night was followed by the announcement after executive session that Bearden, who attended the meeting, had signed the three-year contract. He will begin the job on Jan. 3.
A motion was made during the meeting by Chairman Terri Smith to approve Bearden’s hire and to offer him a three-year contract. The motion and second were followed immediately by a unanimous vote.
Bearden’s three year contract begins January 3 following the terms of his contract with the Marshwood School District in Eliot, Maine that required a 120-day notice.
In attendance at the meeting, Bearden accompanied school board members when they went into executive session toward the end of the meeting. Once completed, Smith announced that Bearden had signed the contract.
Just prior to accompanying the school board in executive session Bearden commented on his trip here and gave his thoughts on what he has seen so far in Fayette County.
“I’m here because board was voting tonight,” he said, in reference to the board’s announcement two weeks ago that he would be offered the superintendent’s job. “I’ve been here since Friday and I spent the weekend traveling around Fayette County. I’m familiar with Fayette County because my father lives in Fayetteville. I really got a good handle on where the schools are located and things like that. It was really important for me to do that.”
“And then yesterday I came here and met with the superintendent’s cabinet, I met with a lot of department heads and visited a couple of schools. Then today I met with some of the business community then came here for a reception with the principals. So a lot of names and a lot of faces. I just have to put them together now. It‘s been overwhelmingly positive. People have been incredibly hospitable and very welcoming.”
The three-year contract provides a salary of $153,000 per year, somewhat higher than the $128,000 salary he currently receives. The contract also provides for payment of a “reasonable” moving expense for his relocation to the county and a $1,000 per month reimbursement for transition costs associated with the sale of his residence in Maine. That provision extends to the time of the sale of his home or through June 30, 2011, whichever comes first. Bearden will also receive a $600 per month to defray automobile travel expenses and reimbursement for half of out-of-pocket travel expenses while serving in the capacity as superintendent. Insurance and retirement benefits will also be provided.
Bearden currently serves as superintendent in a school district with five schools and 2,500 students. He will take over a system with 30 schools and 21,000 students.
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 an 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 Education from the University of Maine. He has published papers on topics such as retaining teachers, employee wellness, tobacco use and learning techniques.