CUMMING — As he transitions toward his retirement from Forsyth County Schools, Superintendent Buster Evans visited local Rotarians Tuesday morning to talk about the growth of the school system — both in population and achievement — since he took the helm in 2008.
Rotary Club of Lanier-Forsyth President David Harrelson highlighted Evans’ accomplishments, thanking the official for his work and achievements, which “proved more could be done with less.”
After hearing from Evans, Harrelson presented him with the club’s Person of Excellence Award.
For his part, Evans said “all of the right ingredients” were in place when he took over.
“People and partnerships, I think that is the key to how we’ve made Forsyth County Schools so successful,” Evans said. “It has been an honor to be able to work with our staff and our fantastic students because they made my job such a rewarding professional experience and I am truly grateful.”
Evans highlighted the partnership between schools and local businesses and Rotary clubs. He also talked about the school system’s successful initiatives to lift SAT scores and graduation rates, as well as a new effort to push career technology into classrooms and get more students engaged in tangible work skills, which he said will help them “be better focused.”
Evans noted the system’s $270 million budget is about the same as it was when he took over, despite its enrollment rising from about 31,000 students to nearly 41,000.
While he admits he’s “going to have regrets about leaving,” Evans said he’s excited for his new career opportunity as assistant commissioner of education for the Georgia Department of Corrections.
He plans to focus on literacy, GED and job skills to help non-violent offenders get work and contribute to society when they’re released, instead of returning to the prison system.
“If we don’t do something to help those inmates who are going into our correctional systems obtain some education and obtain a job skill, once they’re out, they’re probably going to come back within a short period of time and you and I as taxpayers are going to pay for them all over again,” Evans said.
“We can break some cycles of criminal behavior and break some cycles of poverty and give hope who are serving time.”