Clayton County Schools names Anthony Smith interim superintendent

The Clayton County Board of Education on Monday named Anthony Smith interim superintendent of the south metro Atlanta school system.

Smith, the school system’s deputy superintendent of governmental relations, partnerships, grants and operations, will replace outgoing Superintendent Morcease Beasley.

Beasley announced in November his plan to leave the district.

Eight of the district’s nine board members voted for Smith, and one abstained.

Smith was given a standing ovation after the board approved of his appointment, but did not speak.

On Tuesday morning, Beasley said in a statement that his last day will be Dec. 16.

“It has been a profound honor and privilege to serve this community and I am grateful to everyone for supporting me during my time with the district for nearly seven years, which includes one year as chief school improvement officer,” he said.

Beasley was supposed to stay on until the end of the 2022-2023 school year, but an agreement was struck for him to leave earlier, according to school board chairwoman Jessie Goree. Neither Goree nor Beasley explained the change.

“For clarity, with the separation and the interim superintendent, Dr. Smith will assume duties effective Dec. 17,” Goree told the audience at the meeting. “We mutually agreed with Dr. Beasley on a separation so he will conclude this semester.”

The board also approved Monday a separation agreement with Beasley, but did not offer details. Beasley was not at Monday’s school board meeting.

Carol Yancey, a Clayton County resident and a watchdog of local government, said she’s not sure that Smith is the fresh start that she thinks the district needs.

“What is he going to do that is different from Beasley,” she said of Smith. “Because he was under Beasley’s leadership, have they appointed someone just like (Beasley)?”

Smith has held several positions in the district, including area superintendent, assistant superintendent of schools and middle and high school principal, according his biography on the district’s website.

The district’s new leader also has a master’s of science in educational leadership from Jacksonville State University; an educational specialist degree in educational leadership from Columbus State University; and a doctorate of education in educational leadership from Georgia Southern University.

Beasley congratulated Smith on his appointment.

“Dr. Smith has served the school district and community for many years in various capacities and I offer my full support as he transitions to serve in this new role,” Beasley said Tuesday.