The Cartersville City School District officially has a new leader to take over for retiring Superintendent Dr. Howard Hinesley.
Dr. Marc Feuerbach, principal of Cartersville High School, will become the new superintendent of the 4,000-student school system July 1, 2018, one day after Hinesley retires.
Feuerbach, 37, signed an employment contract Monday afternoon, and the school board voted 6-0, with board member Pat Broadnax absent due to illness, to approve it at Monday night’s business meeting.
“I’m very, very excited, honored and humbled about the opportunity and appreciate the confidence the board is putting into me,” Feuerbach said after the meeting.
Board President Kelley Dial said board members also are “very excited.”
“We’re glad this has been a smooth process,” she said. “We’re glad we were able to have a succession plan that worked out, and we are very excited for next year.”
Hinesley said he’s “really pleased and happy for Dr. Feuerbach and his family.”
“I’ve been blessed to be able to work here, and I know he’s going to do a great job,” he said. “It’s a great school system with a school board that has their priorities in order. I commend them for the process that they used, and as historically [has] been the case here in Cartersville, we’re going to be blessed to have someone that’s looking for the future and help our kids move forward.”
According to Feuerbach’s three-year contract, which will begin July 1, 2018, and end June 30, 2021, his annual base salary will be $150,000 — up from his principal’s salary of $126,480 — and he will be required to work at least 240 days each year.
His predecessor currently is earning $151,723.88.
Board members knew about Feuerbach’s desire to eventually become a superintendent when he was hired as CHS’s principal, enabling them to develop a succession plan for Hinesley’s retirement, according to the current superintendent.
“A little over three years ago, I turned my retirement in at the completion of my 10th year,” Hinesley said. “[Board members] contacted a consulting firm that does searches, and they came back to me and said, and specifically David Apple said, ‘Real leadership is not leaving with nobody here to replace you. So, will you stay three more years?’ And I thought about that, and I think there’s some truth to that. So, I decided to stay three more years.”
When the high school principal vacancy occurred, Hinesley said he “went out looking for somebody — and I didn’t know Dr. Feuerbach, never met him, never heard of him — by calling some colleagues of mine around the state to see if there was someone that would make a good high school principal that also had ambitions down the road, if successful, to be a superintendent.”
Feuerbach was one of the names that “popped up,” and the interview process began, Hinesley said.
“Not only did he vet us, I really vetted him,” he said. “[Assistant Superintendent] Ken Clouse and I probably interviewed him 12 to 15 hours. ... It’s all fallen right into place. He’s done a fantastic job at the high school. We did not have one concern expressed that the board has heard or I’ve heard or anybody’s heard when that name was put out there, which was the purpose of doing that, so we’re excited.”
The succession plan worked out well, according to Dial.
“We knew when we hired Dr. Feuerbach that that was his ultimate career goal, and we hoped that might be something that worked out, and it did,” she said, noting contract negotiations began right after he was named Hinesley’s successor at the Oct. 9 board meeting. “So, we felt like we didn’t need to look any further.”
But Feuerbach said he didn’t know the school board’s plans when he accepted the principal’s position.
“Did I think it was a possibility one day?” he said. “Maybe. But did I think it would be in four years? No. And also, you never know what the future’s going to hold. They talked about a plan, and it sounds like they had that in mind, but when I was hired, they did not say, ‘Hey, this is our plan for you.’”
His attention was solely on the job he was hired to do — be a high school principal.
“So, that was my focus, coming here and embracing that opportunity, and [I] have thoroughly enjoyed it,” he said. “It was just one of those things.”
Feuerbach said he wants to be a school superintendent because it’s an “exciting opportunity to be able to lead a system.”
“I’ve enjoyed being an elementary school principal,” he said. “I’ve been a middle school principal. I’ve been a high school principal. I’ve enjoyed working at all those levels, but now I have the opportunity to lead an entire school system and work with all schools, work with employees at all schools, work with all stakeholders in that community, trying to continue to build upon the success that we’ve had. It’s exciting just to be part of the overall organization.”
The Fort Lauderdale, Florida, native received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Florida, his master’s degree from Kennesaw State University and his doctorate in education degree from Valdosta State University.
He was a teacher and assistant principal at Gordon Central High School in Gordon County and principal at Ashworth Middle School in Gordon County and Calhoun Elementary School before coming to CHS in July 2014.
Feuerbach, who is married and has two kids in the Cartersville system, has since completed the Superintendent Professional Development Program coordinated by the Georgia School Superintendents Association.