Buford City Schools superintendent to retire in summer

Buford City Schools Superintendent Robert Downs poses for a portrait at the Buford City Schools Central Office in Buford, Ga., on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
caption arrowCaption
Buford City Schools Superintendent Robert Downs poses for a portrait at the Buford City Schools Central Office in Buford, Ga., on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (Casey Sykes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Buford City Schools Superintendent Robert Downs will retire June 30.

Downs, who has led the school district since early 2019, sent a letter to families earlier this month announcing his decision, which he said came after many discussions with his wife, Melissa.

“During the pandemic’s shutdown, we struggled not seeing our parents as often as we wanted, and it brought to light how fleeting our days with them are,” Downs said in the letter. “I realized we wanted to take the opportunity to spend as much time as possible with them.”

ExploreBuford’s new school superintendent tasked with repairing a community

Downs said he will be ending a 32-year career in education. Before taking leadership of the Buford district, he was an assistant superintendent for Cobb schools. He worked in middle and high schools with a variety of demographics, according the Buford district.

He has degrees from the University of Georgia, University of West Georgia and Lincoln Memorial University.

“I have grown as an educator, administrator, leader, and most importantly, as a person, during my tenure here,” Downs told Buford families. “What has made this decision so difficult is the thought of not serving this community. Your impact will forever be felt in my life.”

ExploreMore stories about metro Atlanta schools

Downs said he will assist the school board with the search for a new superintendent and transition process.

He took office more than two years ago during a turbulent time in Buford, amid a scandal after the previous superintendent, Geye Hamby, was caught on tape making profane, racist and threatening statements.

A racial discrimination lawsuit involving Hamby’s rant was settled late last year.