Categories
City DopeFeaturedNews

School Board Approves Hooker as Superintendent Finalist, Rejects ‘Divisive Concepts’ Policy

Incoming CCSD superintendent Robbie Hooker.

The Clarke County Board of Education approved Robbie Hooker as the sole finalist for superintendent at its Aug. 11 meeting, and voted down a complaint policy related to the state’s controversial new “divisive concepts” law.

Hooker, a longtime Clarke County School District teacher and administrator who currently heads the Social Circle school system, is slated to take over for retiring Superintendent Xernona Thomas in October, pending a final vote on Aug. 25.

While Hooker was widely popular during his tenures as principal of Burney-Harris-Lyons Middle School and Clarke Central High School, and many residents praised his hiring, Gantt addressed concerns that the board acted without much opportunity for public input.

“We in many ways do wish at times that there could have been more public aspects to the process, and we remain open to any concerns constituents may have. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us,” board President LaKeisha Gantt said. “But I do want to reiterate that the board took this seriously, and the process of a search for an interim and a permanent [superintendent] just aligned at the same time. I want the public to rest assured that there will be opportunities for community stakeholders, diverse communities and populations, to meet not just with the board, but with Dr. Hooker.”

The vote was 7-0, with Linda Davis absent. New member Heidi Hensley recused herself because she had not been involved in the search process before taking office Aug. 8, although she said she had researched Hooker and supports him.

In addition, the board unanimously rejected a state-mandated policy for taking complaints related to the new “divisive concepts” law, which restricts how educators can teach about race. For example, the Republican-backed culture war law prohibits teaching that the U.S. is a fundamentally racist country, or that white people should feel guilty about whites’ racist actions in the past. The law requires local school districts to set up a procedure for dealing with complaints. However, the local school board has opted not to.

Board members did not give a reason before the vote, but several said at a previous meeting that they oppose the law and don’t want to comply with it.

“It’s performative, and it doesn’t move the needle forward, particularly as school districts address disparities for Black students and students of color in achievement and discipline,” Gantt said.

RELATED ARTICLES BY AUTHOR