With a unanimous vote and a signature, the Gainesville City Schools have a new school superintendent.
Jeremy Williams was hired by a vote of the school board at a work session Monday night. The new superintendent provided the signature, signing a three-year contract that will pay him $160,000 annually. Williams’ wife, Jenny, and children, Molly and Rhett, also attended the meeting.
“We found the right person and we’re looking forward to the future with him,” said board Chairman Brett Mercer.
Williams officially becomes superintendent July 1, but he will work with the Gainesville City Schools for 10 days in May and fully begin the transition June 1. For the month of June, he will be chief of staff, serving with current Superintendent Wanda Creel in an effort to make for a smooth transition.
“The 10 days in May is for him to get acclimated with the people,” Mercer said. “Dr. Creel will phase herself out in June and he will be stepping in, so it is a way for us to allow the transition to take place.”
Williams said he has already been working with Creel to make sure he is in the district when he needs to be in May.
“This is Dr. Creel’s year and the team’s year,” he said. “They need celebrate all those accomplishments they’ve had. I just want to see what those accomplishments are and how we can build on them.”
Creel announced earlier in the school year she would resign at the end of the 2016-17 academic year.
Williams said he is “relieved” the appointment is official.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said.”It’s just a great opportunity to get to know people and get to see what the culture is here in Gainesville City Schools and being able to take my family and immerse them into the community, it’s a blessing.”
At age 36, Williams is younger than any current school superintendent on record with the Georgia School Superintendents Association, according to Executive Director John Zauner. Zauner said there are other new superintendents beginning in July, but his office does not yet have information on all of them to say whether Williams will be the youngest in the state.
Williams said he knows “there will be eyes on me” because of his age.
“More than anything, there’s a bigger expectation because people are going to be looking at me to see how I’m going to handle the opportunity, looking to see my relationships with the staff, my relationships with the students,” he said.
Williams’ wife and children were all born at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Jenny Williams said the move is “almost a little bit like coming home.”
“I feel like we spend so much of our life down in Gainesville being from Habersham County, coming down to doctors’ appointments and going shopping,” she said. “It’s just always been a big part of our lives.”
The family has already found a house. It was inspected Monday, and Williams said they hope to move in by June 1.
A native of Habersham County, Williams has served in the district office of Union County Schools as assistant superintendent and later as associate superintendent for the past five years. Prior to that, he served in different capacities with the Pioneer Regional Educational Service Agency, which works with 14 school districts in Northeast Georgia, including Gainesville City Schools. He is a former classroom teacher in Gwinnett County and has been an adjunct professor at Piedmont College in Demorest since 2012.
The board chose Williams out of a pool of 32 applicants, 10 of which were interviewed during the search process.