NOTE: This article originally published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Gwinnett News section on Jan. 22, 2006.
Geye Hamby has been a math teacher, principal and assistant school superintendent. He's worked in elementary, middle and high schools.
Soon he'll add a new title: superintendent of Buford City Schools.
Hamby, 36, now the district's assistant superintendent, will become the leader of the city's four-school system on July 1. He succeeds Sue Morris, who earlier this month announced she would retire after 33 years with Buford schools.
Hamby sat down with the AJC Gwinnett News in his office Friday to talk about his career and the future of Buford City Schools. Pictures of his family, jars of candy and piles of papers crowded his desk.
Hamby enjoys hunting; two mounted ducks sat atop a bookcase.
As he talked, he often smiled. He says he smiles a lot. "When you smile at people, they smile back," he said.
Q: What made you want to become a teacher?
A: I thoroughly enjoyed math. I thoroughly enjoy working with people. And math was my favorite subject as a student.
Q: But why teach? There were other things you could have done with math.
A: Well, why not teach? It was something that appealed to me. I helped tutor some kids in college in some advanced math. Helping them appealed to me.
Q: Why come to Buford?
A: The Buford City Schools system is one of the best school systems in the state of Georgia. I also think it is probably one of the best-kept secrets in this part of the state. We have an excellent reputation for both academics and athletics. I am just absolutely thrilled to be here and to be a part of this community.
Q: What are you looking forward to most in being the next superintendent?
A: Having a positive influence on students, faculty and staff. I'm a positive person, an optimistic person. I hope to bring that to my position.
Q: What do you see as your greatest challenge?
A: Dealing with the growth we are experiencing in the city of Buford. And the ESOL [English for Speakers of Other Languages] growth we are experiencing in this area.
Q: Let's talk about growth. Buford is a small system with about 2,500 students. But it is growing by about 7 percent a year. And four new subdivisions, with about 400 new homes, are being built within the Buford attendance area. How will the district handle this growth?
A: Because it is limited growth, we will be able to maintain our hometown feel and community atmosphere. We've done an excellent job with the new middle school [opened in July 2004] and that can accommodate more students. We've also planned for growth at our other schools.
Q: How do you define or measure good teaching? What makes for a good teacher?
A: That's easy. A good teacher has high expectations; is a person willing to motivate children; and a teacher who also has concern for the individual child.
Q: Who was your favorite and least favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
A: My favorite teacher was in high school and was an English teacher. He had high expectations. He enjoyed getting to know the students. He wasn't afraid to have a general convesation with a student. I can't recall my least favorite.
Q: Which high school sport do you cheer for more — football, baseball or basketball?
A: [laughter] Let me think. ... One thing we do well here is we have a great balance of all our athletic programs. We are talented in so many athletic areas. We have a lot to cheer for.
Q: What do you do for fun? How do you relax?
A: I love to hunt. I enjoy deer hunting and duck hunting. I love spending time with my children. I love watching my children play sports. I love to water ski and snow ski. We just love to be outdoors.
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