The new superintendent of Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools is on the payroll, just in time for the new school year. The Savannah Chatham Board of Education voted six to three to hire Dr. Thomas Lockamy on July 1st. At Wednesday's school board meeting, members unanimously approved his contract, pledging to work together for the good of the school district.
"I'm very excited about the work that has to be done and the challenges before us," explained Dr. Lockamy. "I'm committed to involving the community and the students in the work that has to be completed."
It was only a month ago that the Board of Education hired him in a split vote. Six board members voted for Lockamy, while three chose Dr. Donnie Evans. On Wednesday, they said they wanted to move ahead.
"The ultimate goal is to get the whole school board to work together with Dr. Lockamy and move the school system forward," said district eight board member Gloria Edwards.
"We feel like even though we got through that vote, we stand behind him," said district six board member Lori Brady. "He is the CEO of the school district. He is the manager of the school district and he has a good record on achievement."
Dr. Lockamy is eager to prove that record in Chatham County.
"The academic standards must be raised," he said. "Expectations must be raised. Not only expectations for academics, but the way students look and act and behave in the community in which they live. The community and the people are ready for change and that's one of the first ingredients you have to have: the readiness to move the district forward."
Doctor Lockamy's three year contract will pay him $175,000 a year as well as an additional $4,800 a year for business expenses and a paid membership in a civic organization. The deal will also provide him with a late model car and cell phone, paid health insurance, up to $15,000 for moving expenses and a temporary housing allowance of $2,000 a month until he finds a house in Chatham County. He can also earn a $15,000 annuity, if he meets the board's performance measures. The Savannah Chatham County School District is still paying the remainder of former superintendent John O'Sullivan's salary, about $154,000 over the next eleven months.
Doctor Lockamy will be officially sworn in as superintendent in the near future.