The Georgia School Superintendents Association named Forsyth County Superintendent Dr. Jeff Bearden as a finalist for the 2021 Georgia Superintendent of the Year.
Bearden was one of four finalists chosen throughout the state, picked based on their leadership abilities and skill sets in working with their boards, staff and communities. Each year, GSSA takes nominations from school boards, Regional Education Service Agencies, education colleges and local communities within the state.
This is now the third year in a row that Bearden has been selected as a finalist.
“I am humbled and honored to have been selected as a finalist for Georgia’s Superintendent of the Year,” Bearden said. “This is, yet further validation of the great work that happens every day in [Forsyth County Schools]. I share this honor with every employee in our great school system. Nothing happens in isolation. Our entire family focuses every day on taking great care of our community’s most precious resource, our children.”
In a video that FCS shared on its website, Bearden said that he was serving in the U.S. Air Force when he got his first opportunity to work inside of a school. He applied to coach varsity basketball at a high school where he was stationed in northern Maine.
“I didn’t think there was any chance that they would hire me,” he said in the video. “I was 22 years old and it was a high school varsity team. Well I think I was the only candidate because they did hire me, and it absolutely changed my life because I realized within just a few weeks of coaching that basketball team I knew what I wanted to do with my life.”
Bearden has been serving in school districts in Maine and Georgia ever since, teaching before moving up the ladder and becoming superintendent of a school district where he started in Maine. He eventually moved back home to Georgia where he served as superintendent of Rome City and Fayette County schools.
He began as superintendent in Forsyth County back in 2014 and has now served as a school executive for more than 25 years.
“I would remiss if I did not thank our entire community for their tremendous support of our school system,” Bearden said. “We are successful because home, school, and community work as partners. We will continue to do just that.”
The final 2021 Georgia Superintendent of the Year winner will be announced in December.