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Finalist for superintendent named
Hall official serves on Flowery Branch council
3 Superintendent Damon Gibbs mug

Hall County's executive director of facilities has been named the finalist for superintendent of the Dawson County school system.

The Dawson County Board of Education announced during a special called meeting March 28 that Damon Gibbs was its choice to lead the system.

"The board of education feels the decision as to who will be the next superintendent is one of the most important decisions we can make, as a board, for the children and citizens of Dawson County," said Chairman Roger Slaton.

"The board has reviewed applications ... and believes that (Gibbs) is best qualified to lead the school system."

The announcement was made after a week of interviews.

Gibbs also confirmed the hire, saying he was "humbled" by the opportunity.

"Dawson County is a great school system. Superintendent [Keith] Porter has done a great job as superintendent and the board is as good as I've ever seen," he said.

"I want to get to know the staff and students before I make any sort of agenda, but there have already been great things done in Dawson County and I look forward to being there."

A University of Georgia graduate with a doctorate in educational leadership, Gibbs served as a principal at Johnson High School and Spout Springs Elementary School in South Hall and as assistant principal at Flowery Branch High School. He has been a school system employee since 1996.

"I believe that each child is a unique individual who needs a secure, caring and stimulating atmosphere in which to grow and mature emotionally, intellectually, physically and socially," Gibbs wrote to the board in his application.

"I feel there is a need for compassionate, strong and dedicated individuals who are excited about working with children. Our communities grow stronger as our students leave our schools competitive and prepared."

Slaton said the board is still negotiating a few more points before officially signing the contract, as school officials can't offer a contract until after 14 days.

"Over the next 14 days, we intend to pursue and reach an agreement ... to serve in that capacity," he said Friday.

If Gibbs agrees, the board is aiming for a first official day of April 30.

Current Superintendent Keith Porter announced his retirement last December. His final day will be May 31.

Gibbs also is serving as a Flowery Branch city councilman, with his term ending Dec. 31, 2015.

"At some point, I'm going to move to Dawson County," he said. "I'm not sure how long that's going to be. As long as I'm in the city, I'm going to follow through on my obligations for my city council post."

Flowery Branch Mayor Mike Miller agreed that the move would not affect Gibbs' seat in the short term.

"Councilman Gibbs will continue to reside in Flowery Branch and his position as a member of our council would not change," Miller said. "He has discussed this opportunity with me and has assured me that he will continue to fulfill the duties of councilman and his commitment to the residents of Flowery Branch."

Lisa Laskey of the DCN regional staff contributed to this story.