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CCSD Superintendent Xernona Thomas Will Retire Next Year

CCSD Superintendent Xernona Thomas retired Oct. 8.

Clarke County School District Superintendent Xernona Thomas will retire at the end of 2022, CCSD announced Friday.

Thomas has led the school district since December 2019, when she was named interim superintendent after the Board of Education began negotiating the departure of former superintendent Demond Means. She signed a three-year contract in December 2020.

“Though my tenure may be coming to a close over the next year, I will approach each day with the same commitment that I have in the past,” Thomas wrote in a message to the Clarke County School District community. “The expectation that I hold for myself and each of you is that we give our best every day to ensure our students reach their full potential.”

She informed the school board of her pending retirement during a closed session after Thursday’s board meeting, according to Communications Manager Beth Moore.

Thomas is a native Athenian and a “triple Dawg” with three degrees from the University of Georgia. Her 31-year career at CCSD includes stints as a social worker, assistant principal, principal of J.J. Harris Elementary School and Means’ chief of staff. She eased tensions after Means’ tumultuous tenure divided the community and guided the district through the COVID-19 pandemic. Announcing her Dec. 31, 2022 retirement now gives the school board more than a year to find a replacement.

“We appreciate the stability Dr. Thomas provided during the last two years and look forward to her continued leadership,” board President LaKeisha Gantt said in a news release. “The Board of Education will begin discussing the superintendent search process when it meets in December.”