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Educators applaud interim state school chief
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Forsyth County News

For at least the next six months, Brad Bryant will serve as Georgia’s school superintendent.

Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed Bryant to the post Wednesday, saying in a statement that the educator “has a wealth of experience as a parent, local school board member and state school board member.”

“He understands what must take place in individual schools across the state to help students be successful,” Perdue said.
Bryant, who resigned as District 4 representative on the Georgia Board of Education, will fill the remainder of Kathy Cox’s term, which expires at
year’s end.

Cox, who has held the post since 2002, is stepping down from her role June 30 to lead a nonprofit that will help state public education systems implement school reform.

The governor’s choice of Bryant was welcome by Forsyth County Superintendent Buster Evans.

“He’s a spectacular choice by Gov. Perdue to fill in during this period of time,” Evans said. “He knows the work the Department of Education has been about and he’s been a part of that work that’s led to a lot of improvements in Georgia.”

Having worked in several leadership roles with Bryant for more than a decade, Evans described him as an approachable man of “character and integrity.”

Evans said he most recently worked with Bryant on the system’s application for IE2 status, which has allowed the local district to opt out of state mandates in exchange for more accountability. The measure was approved by the state board of education a year ago.

“We already have a good working relationship and a great respect professionally,” Evans said. “He knows the work of Forsyth County.”

Because it’s too late to qualify as a Democrat or Republican before the July 20 primary, Bryant will run as an independent candidate.

His name will be on the November ballot, along with the party winners from a pool of three Democrats and two Republicans.

Prior to serving on the board, Bryant served on the DeKalb County Board of Education for 12 years, seven of which were as its chairman.

Most recently, Bryant worked with Clayton County and Warren County school systems to help them regain accreditation.

He also served as past president of the Georgia School Boards Association. That’s where Forsyth County Board of Education Chairwoman Ann Crow met him.

While Crow said she will miss Cox and her contribution to education in the state, Bryant “knows a lot about education and he has done a very good job at the state level.”

“Because of his contacts and his knowledge about education in Georgia, he’s probably a good fit in the short term for someone to be able to step into that position,” she said.

Evans said he considers Bryant a friend.

“He’s got a servant’s heart,” he said. “He’s a person who can rise to the challenge.

“He’s a great supporter of education and he’s also a great supporter of the arts ... I think he’ll most importantly be a friend of educators in Georgia.”