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Gainesville school board OKs 3-year contract for new superintendent

Gainesville City Schools adds 3 days back to calendar

POSTED: January 6, 2014 9:13 p.m.

Gainesville school board members have approved a contract of employment with Wanda Creel, their choice to be the next city schools’ superintendent.

Creel, 50, was one of around 26 applicants for the position and was named the sole finalist in December. She will come to Gainesville from Barrow County, where she has been superintendent since 2010.

The approved three-year contract for Creel begins July 1 and runs through June 30, 2017; it details an annual salary of $163,000, plus $600 per month for travel expenses. According to, Creel earned $149,120.10 for the 2013 fiscal year in Barrow County.

The contract also stipulates Creel must live in Gainesville, but there’s a six-month leeway period from the beginning of the contract. She’ll be provided $2,500 in moving expenses.

Current Superintendent Merrianne Dyer is retiring from the Gainesville position at the end of this year; the former Fair Street School principal has been superintendent of the city schools since 2008.

Now that school board members have approved the final contract, it will go back to Creel for final signatures. Creel and Dyer are working together now to iron out a plan of transition; Creel has plans to be in Gainesville on Feb. 7 for a strategic planning session with the schools, and Dyer is also working on a calendar of when they both can meet with members and leaders of local groups.

“You all are going to love her,” board Chairwoman Maria Calkins said after the vote to staff members attending Monday’s work session.

Separately, three days have been added back to the 2013-14 school calendar, one an instructional day.

Students will now attend school Feb. 14; days also have been restored for staff only on Feb. 17 and May 29.

That brings a total of six days out of 10 restored for the year, and three instructional days, bringing students up to 179 instructional days out of the recommended 180, Dyer said.

It costs around $225,000 daily to add these furlough days back into the calendar, though that number also includes what it costs to run the buses. As the buses will run only one day out of the three, it’s a maximum of $675,000 to bring back all three days.


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