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Outgoing official visits educators
Cox leaving on June 30
State School Superintendent Cathy Cox talks about education in Georgia during a visit here Friday. - photo by Jennifer Sami
During a visit Friday, State School Superintendent Kathy Cox encouraged Forsyth County educators to become a voice for Georgia’s schools.

“The state of Georgia needs you,” Cox told local school principals and administrators.

“You’re not afraid to tackle new challenges in Forsyth County and you’re not afraid of change, and that’s something that our state really needs.”

Cox will step down from her role June 30 to become the founding chief executive officer of the U.S. Education Delivery Institute, a nonprofit created to help state public education systems implement school reform.

Gov. Sonny Perdue will appoint a replacement to fill out the term of Cox, who was first elected to the post in 2002.

Republican candidates for state superintendent in the July 20 primary include John Barge, former principal of Chestatee High School in Hall County, and Richard Woods, a teacher from Tifton.

Democrats in the race include Beth Farokhi, a Cobb County educator; Joe Martin, former chairman of the Atlanta school board; and Brian Westlake, a Decatur teacher.

To fix the state’s financial problems, Cox pointed to job creation. But without a world-class education, attracting employers will be a challenge.

“Going into this world, our kids have got to be smarter than we were. They have to be. And they have to have more education,” she said. “... I believe every Georgia student needs to graduate from high school and go to [some form of] college.”

Forsyth County Superintendent Buster Evans described Cox as the “best friend that many of us in education have had ... whether you knew it or not.”

Cox said she will be shaping an organization that will help other school systems and states do “what you’re doing right here in Forsyth County.”

“You’re just a prime example of being able to take that vision and those goals and actually deliver on the results,” she said.

FCN regional staff contributed to this report.