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Bryant takes office, calls colleagues
New State Schools Superintendent intrigues locals with leadership ideas
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New State Schools Superintendent Brad Bryant was sworn into office Thursday, and local superintendents say they are intrigued about his plans for the next few months.

Bryant held a phone conference with superintendents around the state early Thursday, introducing himself and answering a few questions.

“I think it’s a reflection of the fact that he will do a great job,” Hall County Superintendent Will Schofield said. “He talked about the need for the state department and local leaders to collaborate and be on the same page. That’s his style and forte, and I think he has the right ideas of service leadership.”

Previous superintendent Kathy Cox said in May she would be leaving the post July 1 to head up the new nonprofit U.S. Education Delivery Institute in Washington, D.C.

In June, Gov. Sonny Perdue appointed Bryant to fill the unexpired term, and Bryant said he plans to run as an independent for the position on the November ballot.

Bryant served seven years as the 4th District representative on the state board of education. He is the past president of the National Association of State Boards of Education and served on the DeKalb County Board of Education for 12 years, including seven years as its chairman.

During the phone conference Thursday, Bryant asked local superintendents to work with him to help solve the problems Georgia schools face, Gainesville City Schools Superintendent Merrianne Dyer said.

“He said he accepted the job so that Georgia would not lose the 180 days of Superintendent Cox’s unexpired term and so that we would not get a breakdown in service,” Dyer said. “The purpose of the call was to reach out to us as he takes office today.”

Bryant also talked about the federal flexibility for Georgia schools by federal officials regarding certain subgroups of testers — English-language learners and students with disabilities. The federal government decided not to grant the waiver, which will cause a number of schools to not meet Annual Yearly Progress this year. The state submitted an appeal last week.

Bryant “called for advocacy on the part of parents, teachers, administrators and our professional groups to break the gridlock that is in place in terms of measuring AYP in a way that makes sense,” Dyer said.