Heatley officially named to lead Clayton schools

Former Marine gets a three-year contract and $250,000 annually

The Clayton County school system, fresh from regaining its accreditation, officially announced the hiring of its new superintendent Monday night at a special board of education meeting.

Edmond Heatley, a school superintendent in California, was elected by a vote of 5-4. He was awarded a three-year contract and will be paid $250,000 a year.

Heatley, 46, a retired Marine master sergeant with three Combat Action ribbons and a bronze star, has pledged to rebuild the Clayton system that saw 3,500 students flee the district after it lost its accreditation. Some education union members had protested his hiring when he was introduced as the only finalist candidate, saying they wanted someone with Georgia experience.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools restored the 48,000-student system's accreditation on May 1 and put the system on two years' probation.

SACS cited a dysfunctional board when it yanked the accreditation in September and made the restoration of accreditation contingent upon Clayton making continued improvements, including hiring an experienced superintendent.