The Bibb County school board voted 4-2 to renew the contracts of acting Superintendent Sylvia McGee and Assistant Superintendent Mack Bullard on Thursday night.
Earlier in the day, the Georgia Professional Standards Commission voted there was probable cause to suspend their teaching certificates for failing to report educator misconduct within the school district.
Myra Abrams, Bibb’s director of Human Resources, who was also recommended by the PSC for a 20-day license suspension, is also being rehired this fall, but her leadership certificate does not require board approval, officials said.
Board members Susan Middleton, Tommy Barnes, Tom Hudson and Ella Carter approved the contract renewals after a three-hour executive session behind closed doors with an attorney.
Board members Gary Bechtel and Lynn Farmer opposed the vote.
“There’s going to be some questions about what we did today,” Bechtel said. “There were different reasons” the four approved the renewals, he said speaking for the board.
Bechtel said Middleton had problems with the PSC process and others felt the district had been through enough turmoil. He said he wanted to issue McGee and Bullard a non-renewal until the board could discuss it further next week and if there was a change of mind, issue their certificates then.
Albert Abrams, who is married to Myra Abrams, recused himself from the executive session and the vote. Sue Sipe was absent from the meeting.
The state requires school boards to approve educators' certificates by May 15.
Bechtel said McGee will remain as acting superintendent until “the foreseeable future.”
The system continues with its superintendent search next week when it interviews superintendent search firms. The board plans to hold community forums this summer and could by December hire the system’s next leader.
The Rev. Ronald Terry, pastor of New Fellowship Baptist Church, chastised the school board, saying they should have hired a superintendent with a doctorate and leadership experience years earlier. He went on to say the board hired too many outside principals with troubled pasts and now educators are choosing to jump ship and the system is left in a mess.
“We are in serious trouble in this school system,” he said. “Some folks aren’t going to say it to you like I’m saying it to you, maybe behind your back.
“I think it’s your job as a board to make sure when you get a superintendent you get one with a PhD, one who has been a superintendent or assistant superintendent before who knows the ropes and one that is unbiased, hires those qualified ... and a superintendent that is not vindictive.”