The Butts County Board of Education is expected to name the system's next superintendent during a meeting this evening. 

The board named two finalists for the position of superintendent on Sept. 16.

The candidates are Todd Simpson, who has been serving as interim superintendent since July, and Irma Townsend, assistant superintendent for student services for the Colquitt County school board.

Simpson previously has served as assistant superintendent for the Butts County School System. He was named interim superintendent with the departure of former superintendent Robert “Buddy” Costley, who had held the position since 2011.

Prior to his role as assistant superintendent, Simpson served for two years as principal of Jackson High School. Before coming to Butts County, Simpson was principal and assistant principal at Carrollton Junior High School.

Townsend has been an assistant superintendent in Colquitt County since January 2017, and previously served the district as director of human resources. Townsend also was the human resources director of the Enterprise City school board in Alabama for four years.

Both candidates for the position have doctoral degrees in education — Simpson’s from Walden University and Townsend’s from Auburn University.

“I have over twenty-five years of experience as an educator in the state of Georgia. Thus, I am confident that my wide range of experiences have prepared me for the demands of leading this school system,” Simpson wrote in a letter to board members with his application packet. “I believe few things are more important to our community’s future than the quality of education opportunities available for our young people. It truly takes the concerted effort of an entire community — students, parents, educators, community leaders and business leaders working together — to create and sustain a highly effective learning environment. As such, I am committed to pursuing and enhancing educational programs of quality and excellence, while seeking help and support from a wide range of stakeholders.”

“For more than thirty years, I have had the great privilege of serving students, teachers, principals and communities in two states in the southeastern United States,” Townsend wrote. “As a former teacher, principal and guidance counselor, I can attest to the challenges and joys of working with students of all ages, races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. Although our country’s educational system has seen dramatic changes throughout my career, my belief that a quality education is the gateway to achieving success has remained constant. … Community and stakeholder relationships are paramount to the success of a school district. Butts County’s rich heritage and strong community ties appeal to me. I understand the impact of having a high quality, visionary and collaborative leader at the helm of a school district.”

Butts County school officials said 43 completed applications were received for the superintendent vacancy by the July 7 deadline. Seven candidates were interviewed in two rounds. The board of education was assisted in the search by the Georgia School Boards Association.

The Butts County school board must wait at least 14 days before formally voting to hire one of the candidates, and could do so at its next regular meeting, which is scheduled for Oct. 1.

Managing Editor

Michael Davis has been the editor of the Jackson Progress-Argus since 2010. He previously worked as an editor and reporter for the Henry Daily Herald and Clayton News-Daily.