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Thomasville City Schools superintendent fired following controversy

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 6:16 PM EST

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WALB) – Thomasville City Schools is now without a superintendent after continuous controversy in the school system.

In a 4-3 vote, the Thomasville City School Board moved to fire Dr. Raymond Bryant from his position as superintendent.

Some people are shocked and upset by his immediate removal.

“We are very hurt and very disappointed in this school system,” said Lucinda Brown, Thomasville NAACP president.

Other concerned parents are relieved following the decision.

“Teachers showed up for work this morning assuming their normal work day. Some have felt like they’ve had a weight lifted off their shoulder,” said April Fletcher, a concerned parent.

In the past several weeks, people have raised concerns about Bryant’s leadership regarding some decisions he’s made they said negatively impacted the school system. The concerns grew as parents say they saw teacher morale fall dramatically. More than 1,000 people signed a petition calling for his removal. Another 600 signed a petition for him to stay in the position but it didn’t sway the board’s decision.

“The board just felt that with all the recent community concerns that they felt it was best that we move in a new direction,” said Kejar Butler, Thomasville City school board chair.

In the past eight years, there have been four interim superintendents and four permanent superintendents with Bryant now being the fourth. That excessive movement in new leadership is something Butler is hoping to fix.

“This is not something that the board took lightly. This decision was made and so we definitely know how important it is to have consistent leadership at the school district and that will be one of our top priorities moving forward,” she said.

The fate of Thomasville City Schools is uncertain at this point.

Morris Arrington, a concerned retired educator, said there will only be more controversy moving forward.

“The thing that concerns me as a taxpayer and as an educator, this is not a good look,” he said.

Brown said Bryant has done nothing but bring improvements to the school system, including improving test scores. Brown claims there has been an ongoing racial divide in the school system.

“Why would they get rid of a superintendent who was doing such an excellent job? Because parents decided they don’t want to mix. They want to stay segregated and they do not want our children in the school system with theirs and it has been like that for such a long time,” she said.

Fletcher was one out of over 1,000 signatures on the petition calling for Bryant’s removal. She said race isn’t the issue in the school system but instead the alarming teacher turnover rate.

“We’ve lost over 70 teachers in an 18-month time span whether that be because of the superintendent or because of other job offers and that sort of thing. However, we did lose 20 just in the month of May alone,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher said none of the concerns brought to the board had anything to do with racial issues.

“We’re suffering from a teacher shortage. We’ve got to have them in the classrooms and we were just seeing a decline in that and so I don’t really feel like this decision was about race,” she said.

WALB News 10′s Lenah Allen requested an interview with Bryant but he declined.

The school board will move forward with deciding who will be the next superintendent.

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