Hattaway in as new head of public school district

Scotty Hattaway has left his role as deputy superintendent of Floyd County Schools to take on the top post here in Emanuel. The board of education approved Hattaway’s hiring with a unanimous vote during the morning hours of Wednesday, May 19, 2021. His first day as superintendent of Emanuel County Schools was Thursday, May 20.

The new leader comes to the district with 27 years of experience in education. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Education from the University of Georgia as well as master’s and specialist degrees from Valdosta State. Over the years, he has worked in the classroom as a teacher and has accumulated a handful of administrative titles, including assistant principal, principal, director of support services, superintendent, and deputy superintendent. Hattaway has worked with four school districts prior to Emanuel.

A native of Louisville, Hattaway is now 50-years-old. He and his wife, Holly, a stay-at-home mother, have two daughters: Madison Grace (17) and Maggie Layne (14). The new superintendent sat down with The Crossroads Chronicle last Friday, May 21, for an interview.

During that interview, he stated that his wife and two children will remain in Rome so that Madison, a rising Class of 2022 senior, can finish her high school days in a familiar environment. He, on the other hand, plans to move here “as soon as he can find a place,” and Holly and Maggie will follow in time for the next school year.

About becoming the superintendent, Hattaway said he’s thankful and excited to be afforded the chance to work here. “I’m just really excited to have this opportunity. It’s exciting, exhilarating, it’s an answered prayer. I’m grateful to be back in a rural setting; it’s what I’m used to. I’ve been in it my whole life, so I’m thankful to have the opportunity to lead a school system in this setting,” he said.

As for his vision for the system, Hattaway wants to provide every child with the opportunity to meet his or her absolute potential. He also wants to help local students become the best post-secondary students, employees, and family members possible with the ultimate goal of keeping these individuals local in the future. On that note, he wants Emanuel County Schools to become a “service-oriented” district. Most importantly, however, he aims to take the system “from good to great.”

“I want us to be excellent in all that we do—athletically, academically, extracurricularly, in the community. I want us to be in the top 10 percent of everything in the state. I don’t want us to be okay with the status quo. We’re already good, but I want us to be great. You’ll hear me say that a lot: ‘from good to great.’”

One order of business Hattaway wants to immediately address is bridging the learning loss gap caused by COVID. He sees that as a “tall order” but intends to plan carefully and work diligently with the right folks in the district to complete that checklist item. Hattaway stated “the use of the CARES Act funds will certainly serve as a significant tool for the system in those efforts.”

Long-term, he plans to work with stakeholders and community members to develop relationships and gain insight that will be valuable as he leads the district. He also wants to build a foundation for solid, Tier I instruction.

Between his first two days as superintendent, he visited all seven schools. Hattaway dropped into all facilities on Tiger Trail on Thursday, then went to all Twin City-based schools as well as put eyes on the alternative school on Friday. During those visits, he met various administrators and interacted with some of the teachers. He also attended both high schools’ graduation ceremonies this past week to get a feel for how those exercises are conducted locally and to see first-hand how area students reacted to achieving that milestone.

When asked for his thoughts about using the millions of CARES money Emanuel County Schools has received to date, Hattaway will be meeting with the executive cabinet leadership in the coming weeks to develop a plan for those funds. Hattaway insists that the system will be a “good steward” of the money. After his second cabinet meeting, slated for the first week in June, he will have a more concise plan for the future. That same meeting will need to happen before he assesses Emanuel’s virtual learning plans.

He declined to comment on his stance on state standardized testing at this time.

As deputy superintendent in Floyd County, Hattaway was responsible for overseeing the operations of 18 schools: three primaries, seven elementaries, four middles, and four highs. The total enrollment for that system, according to schoolgrades.georgia.gov, is 9,216. Hattaway hopes his experience leading a district double Emanuel’s size will benefit him in more ways than one.

“I hope things here are a little more uneventful, but generally speaking, school business is school business,” he explained. “I think my experience in a bigger system, coming to a smaller system, will give me the opportunity to see things more broadly. I’m looking forward to getting involved in the community here because that is extremely significant. I’m also really looking forward to growing more personal, one-on-one kind of connections with our students and staff.”

Hattaway will take his seat in the middle of the board line-up for the first time on June 8 at the Central Office at 5:30 p.m.

In regard to the relationship he hopes to forge with members Mason Henry, Johnny Parker, John Allen Bailey, Del Brown, Phyllis Dixon, Tanya Lane, and Sandra Swinney, he said, “I want them to know they can trust me to lead us in a manner that is full of integrity, character, and consistency of practice. It will take time, but that is certainly my pledge to them and to our community.”

The other two finalists considered by the board for the superintendent position were Anthony Aikens of Griffin and Dr. Denise Warnock of Swainsboro.

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