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Board of Education extends Superintendent's contract to 2026-27
Superintendent Dr. Terry OattsConyers, Ga. – The Rockdale County Board of Education extended the contract of Superintendent Dr. Terry Oatts for three more years during their November 9, 2023, work session meeting. The contract will now expire at the end of the 2026-27 school year.

“I am very appreciative of Dr. Oatts’ leadership of our school district over the last six years,” said Chairwoman Pam Brown. “He has encountered some unique challenges - from fiscal challenges, school safety concerns, to a global pandemic - yet he has demonstrated calm, consistent and courageous leadership. He has always prioritized the safety and security of our students and staff, and he has remained focused on continuous improvement in all aspects of our school district."

“I am most grateful to our Board for their support by way of extending my contract for an additional three years,” said Dr. Oatts. “The last five years have been profoundly challenging, but equally rewarding as our school district has prioritized the safety and well-being of our students and staff by ensuring sound public health and public safety enhancement measures. Notwithstanding these challenges, our district has seen some of its greatest successes in student learning, achievement, and growth.”

In his sixth year as Superintendent of Rockdale County Public Schools, Dr. Oatts and RCPS have amassed many notable achievements. Those achievements include increased graduation rates, accelerated Advanced Placement (AP) achievement, a resurgence of students identified as AP Scholars, all three high schools recognized as AP Honor Schools, a record number of Governor’s Honors Program (GHP) nominees and semifinalists named, and rising gifted student eligibility and enrollment. In fact, during Oatts’ tenure, RCPS has twice seen its highest Four-Year cohort graduation rates ever in 2020 (84.6%) and more recently in 2023 (87.04%), exceeding the state in both instances. Additionally, RCPS has seen net gains on state assessments and exceeded both the region and the state on multiple Georgia Milestones Assessments in the wake of the pandemic, most prominently in the areas of literacy and science.

In the area of college and career readiness, RCPS has seen notable Career Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) achievement gains over the last few years with increased career pathway enrollment, increased career pathway course offerings, increased career pathway completion, increased enrollment in Work-Based Learning and Youth Apprenticeship Programs, the highest End-of-Pathway Assessment pass rate in several years, and an increased number of career diploma seal recipients within each graduating class. Importantly, RCPS has seen steady gains in its CTAE Graduation Rate with our current rate being the highest ever at 99.13%.

Dr. Oatts also noted the sound fiscal management of the district under his leadership. “I commend our Financial Services Division for working very closely with my office to ensure sound fiscal management of our district’s revenue,” said Dr. Oatts. “As Superintendent, the buck stops at my desk, literally and figuratively, when it comes to our district’s finances. We have crafted budgets that have been both responsible and responsive, and I have consistently recommended reduced millage rates each fiscal year of my tenure as Superintendent which our Board, to its credit, has consistently approved.”

Dr. Oatts also touted increased revenue through improved fiscal planning and management. “When I became Superintendent in 2018, our fund balance was inadequate. During my tenure, we have significantly increased our fund balance. Maintaining a healthy fund balance allows our district greater latitude when it comes to balancing our budget and closing any funding gaps, particularly during economically challenging times, as we have more options to access needed revenue,” said Dr. Oatts.

Dr. Oatts also explained how the district’s continued debt-free status benefits taxpayers, and how specific action by the Board of Education further benefits seniors. “Our debt-free status alleviates additional tax obligations on taxpayers as we do not levy a debt services millage rate," said Dr. Oatts. "I commend our Board for previously approving a resolution directing our local legislative delegation to pass legislation establishing a referendum that increased the senior exemption from $35,000 to $50,000 for seniors aged 65 and older. Voters overwhelmingly supported that referendum which further helps our seniors."

Prior to the pandemic, Dr. Oatts researched the prospective acquisition of healthcare services for students, and he subsequently advocated for the acquisition of comprehensive mobile medical and telehealth services for the district’s students, which was passed by the Board of Education in the fall of 2020. As that was during the height of the pandemic, Dr. Oatts successfully negotiated the inclusion of COVID-19 testing and vaccine access as part of the telehealth services agreement with Kids'-Doc-On-Wheels, making RCPS the first district in the state to offer free COVID-19 testing and vaccines to students, staff, and their families as part of comprehensive mobile medical and telehealth services. During the 2022 General Assembly, the Georgia Senate passed a resolution commending Oatts for his pandemic leadership which was presented to him by Senator Tonya Anderson. Additionally, the Rockdale County Board of Education received the 2021 Leading Edge Award from the Georgia School Board Association (GSBA) for its telehealth services innovation.

An intergovernmental collaborative accomplishment that was many years in the making was Dr. Oatts’ advocacy for a Georgia Military College (GMC) satellite in Rockdale County. Dr. Oatts previously recommended that the Board of Education pass a Memorandum of Understanding with GMC establishing the parameters for the physical GMC satellite, which the Board passed in January of 2021. In August of 2022, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the site of the new GMC-Rockdale satellite located on the campus of the old RCPS Central Offices. At the ceremony, General William Caldwell, President of Georgia Military College, credited Oatts’ steadfast vision for the success of this multi-year project.

Now in his 30th year in education, Dr. Oatts previously served as assistant superintendent for student achievement for Fayette County Public Schools after serving the better part of a decade as a principal at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in Henry County. He is active in leadership across the state as he serves on the Georgia School Board Association (GSBA) Superintendent Advisory Council, Georgia Cognia Advisory Committee, and the Metro Regional Education Service Agency Board of Control, where he currently serves as Chair, having previously served as Vice-Chair.

Dr. Oatts holds a B.S. degree in communication arts from Georgia Southern University's College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and three graduate degrees from Georgia Southern's College of Education, including a doctoral degree in curriculum studies with an emphasis in educational leadership. He also serves on the College of Education Advisory Board of his alma mater.