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Finalist to replace embattled Buford superintendent has roots in Hall
Downs attended Johnson High School
Robert Downs.jpg
Robert Downs

The Buford City Schools Board of Education has announced its sole finalist to fill the superintendent’s position vacated by Geye Hamby in August in the midst of a racial discrimination lawsuit filed against him.

Dr. Robert Downs, assistant superintendent of Cobb County Schools, was selected from 92 applicants across 15 states to take the helm of the top leadership role in the school district.

Downs is expected to start on Feb. 25, according to a news release.

Hamby resigned from the superintendent’s job in August after being accused of using racial slurs in audio recordings made public as part of a discrimination lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta.

The recordings were submitted in a lawsuit to bolster claims of racial bias that led to the termination of Mary Ingram, 66, in June 2017.

Geye Hamby

Downs has served in a number of educational positions in Cobb County, including as principal at Pope High School for five years. Downs was also principal at Lost Mountain Middle School, and assistant principal at Wheeler and Sprayberry high schools.

A search committee of nine individuals and chaired by former superintendent Beauty Baldwin provided a short list of candidates to the Board of Education, from which Downs was selected.  

“Dr. Downs' credentials and experience stood out among the highly qualified field of candidates,” Board Chair Phillip Beard said. “We are confident that he will build strong ties with students, teachers, parents and the community. It is an exciting time for Buford as we welcome a new superintendent and prepare to open a state-of-the-art high school complex this fall to take Buford and its student body to the next level.”

Downs has roots in Hall County and attended Johnson High School prior to obtaining degrees at the University of Georgia, West Georgia and Lincoln Memorial University.

“I am very excited and honored to be named as the sole finalist for the position of superintendent of Buford City Schools,” he said. “This is a community with a strong tradition of excellence and I look forward to joining the family. I look forward to many years of service to this outstanding community.”