The Forsyth County Board of Education announced Monday afternoon that Keith Porter will serve as interim superintendent of the school system until the position is filled in the fall.
Porter is a familiar face in the region, having recently retired after five years as superintendent of the Dawson County school system.
Porter's announcement came after the school board met in executive session Monday. Porter will follow Buster Evans, who is leaving Forsyth at the end of the month to become assistant commissioner of education with the Department of Corrections.
"We're excited to have Mr. Porter step into the role to help us transition to our next superintendent so we have plenty of time to do it the right way with the right process," said Darla Light, who chairs the local school board.
Porter will take over July 1, the day Evans retires after six years at the helm.
Porter has lived in Forsyth County for 30 years, about the same amount of time he's worked for the Dawson County school system. He is a Dawson native and both he and his two children are products of its school system.
Light described Porter as "a very logical choice" to fill the role.
"He knows Forsyth County very well and we felt like it would be a great transition because he's not looking for a job," she said. "It was something that was important for us to get somebody that everybody felt like they could work with, rather than having to learn somebody new and then learn somebody new again."
Porter, who is not a candidate for the permanent position, said he chose to accept the interim role to bridge the gap between Evans and the new appointee.
"It was an opportunity to assist the Forsyth County school system in which I've lived for so long," he said. "It would have been very difficult for me to turn down the opportunity to help during this transition period.
"I've committed to the board to help in the transition between the tenures of Dr. Evans and the new superintendent and to make that transition as smooth as possible."
Porter said the expectations from parents in Forsyth are for a smooth and productive start to the 2014-15 school year, and "that's what we'll be geared toward doing over the month of July."
During his short tenure, Porter said he plans to play a role in getting bond projects started as soon as possible to help meet the future growth.
Though Evans will depart, Light said he will be available to field questions and concerns from both Porter and the new superintendent.
But having already worked with the majority of the system's cabinet-level employees on grants and other projects, Porter said he's ready to serve. He's also looking forward to August.
"For 30 years I've prepared for a first day of school and I thought that I had probably seen my last ... so I'm really excited about having the ability to plan for another," he said.
"The first day of school has always been a special time and I will work really hard to be prepared for those students and teachers."
The deadline to submit superintendent applications to the Georgia School Board Association, which is handling the process for Forsyth, was May 2.
While the association is vetting candidates, all applicant information will be sent to the school board in three groups ranked as most qualified, somewhat qualified and not qualified.