MEDFORD -- After five years at the helm of Jackson County's largest school district, Brian Shumate is leaving town.
The School Board of the Troup County School System in Georgia unanimously selected the Medford School District superintendent for its top position Thursday during an evening board meeting. He will start there July 1.
After he was selected as one of three finalists for the position two weeks ago, Shumate said he was “excited about the opportunity to go to LaGrange, Georgia, to learn about that community.”
He said he and his wife had begun to look for jobs in the Kentucky area around Thanksgiving. Significant life events, including marriages, the birth of their first grandchild, and death and illness made them want to be closer to family again, he said.
“It’s very bittersweet,” he said.
During his time in the Medford district, the four-year graduation rate has jumped from 65.21 percent in 2014 to 80.5 percent in 2018. One of his main passion projects was introducing and growing the district’s Pathways program for high school students based on their interests.
“I’m happy for him because I think he will do a wonderful job,” said Cynthia Wright, chair of the Medford School Board.
But, she said, “I’m sad for our district because I think he’s been wonderful.”
Shumate was hired in 2014 on a $200,000 contract . It was renewed twice, the most recent including successive raises had he stayed. His salary in this school year will total $212,000. By the third year, his salary would’ve been $230,000.
Because Shumate will see out this year until July 1, he will receive one-third of the $10,500 “retention incentive bonus” offered by the School Board in the contract extension approved last year.
The Medford School Board in a special meeting Thursday afternoon approved a pending consulting contract with HYA Associates to assist in their search for a new superintendent.
“The reality is, it’s going to be really hard to replace Brian Shumate because he’s a really good, top-quality superintendent,” Wright said.