Paulding County schools superintendent retiring

Paulding County School District Superintendent Brian Otott will retire from the district May 31.
Paulding County School District Superintendent Brian Otott will retire from the district May 31.

Credit: Paulding County School District

Credit: Paulding County School District

Brian Otott will retire as superintendent of the Paulding County School District at the end of the school year.

The 31-year employee of the school system west of Atlanta started his career there as an eighth-grade teacher, going on to work at 11 Paulding County schools as well as the district office and rising to superintendent in 2017. Otott’s contract is through the next school year, but he is retiring more than a year ahead of that, on May 31, the school district announced Friday.

Under Otott’s leadership, the graduation rate increased to 90.8%. The district of 30,000 students and 3,600 employees had an above-average performance on nearly all of the state-standardized Georgia Milestones tests in 2019.

“Leaving the place you love is never an easy decision, but I am looking forward to completing this school year and beginning a new phase of life,” Otott wrote.

This fall, Otott was among the first superintendents in the country to reopen school buildings during the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming the subject of national news coverage when photos surfaced showing high school hallways crowded by students without masks.

A sophomore at North Paulding High School was suspended after posting one of the photos online, but the district rescinded the punishment after a public outcry.

While some school districts in the state stayed entirely online, Otott maintained an in-person option, though he had to close some schools periodically when infections spread.

Like several other metro Atlanta districts, Paulding will be closing all school buildings next week. Otott attributed his decision to “a significant number of COVID-19-related absences and quarantines for students, teachers, and school support staff.”

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