Q&A: New GHSA executive director Tim Scott

Superintendent played on national championship college team; started career as coach
Tim Scott, superintendent of Dalton County Schools, will become executive director of the Georgia High School Association effective July 31.

Credit: Dalton Public Schools

Credit: Dalton Public Schools

Tim Scott, superintendent of Dalton County Schools, will become executive director of the Georgia High School Association effective July 31.

Tim Scott, the superintendent of Dalton Public Schools since 2018, was approved Monday to become the Georgia High School Association’s new executive director starting July 1. Scott will succeed Robin Hines, who has held the position since 2017. Scott spoke with the AJC’s Todd Holcomb this week on topics ranging from his football-playing days at Northside-Warner Robins and West Georgia to the challenges ahead running the day-to-day operations of the GHSA.

- You’ve been a school administrator for the past 25 years, but your academic roots are in sports. Did you get into teaching intending to be a coach? “I did. I went into coaching because my coaches meant a lot to me, but then after being in it for over a decade, I had one of my principals that I worked for talk to me about getting into administration. It really hadn’t crossed my mind until then. It was kind of like a coach getting somebody out to play football by talking with him in the hallway, telling him you think he’d be great at it. That helps a lot of the time. So they just talked with me about it, and the opportunity came. I was fortunate enough to get into that track.’’ [Scott was the principal at Douglas County from 2011 to 2015, at Dublin from 2007 to 2009 and at alma mater Northside-Warner Robins from 2001 to 2007. He also was an assistant principal at Lassiter and Warner Robins. Scott began teaching and coaching at Northside in 1987 and was head wrestling coach and assistant football coach there.]

-What was it about sports and coaching that you liked? ‘’That camaraderie among your teammates whether it was high school or the college level. Even in coach, there’s a bond there with the players. I’ve got two guys that I coached in high school working here in Dalton.’’

-Who were your mentors early on? “Conrad Nix was my high school football coach. He was very influential. My position coach in college was Jimmy Stokes. He ended up working with GAEL [Georgia Association of Education Leaders]. He was really important to me. Both of those gentlemen have the highest integrity and want to do things the very best that you can do them. Robin Hines is another who tries to do right by people.’’ [Nix won 260 games as a Georgia coach and won state titles in 2006 and 2007 at Northside. Stokes was GAEL’s executive director for eight years before retiring in 2019.]

-You were on a famous West Georgia team, which won the 1982 Division III national championship. What are your memories of that? “I wasn’t very good, but being part of that team was special. There were some great guys there, and I still talk to a few of them and keep in touch. It was great for the school. Then along the way, some of the players got into coaching. [Three members of that 1982 became GHSA head football coaches who won state titles. They are Frank Barden at Cartersville, Kevin Kinsler at Northside and Keith Maloof at Norcross.]

-How do you see the job of executive director? “It’s mainly interpreting the bylaws and making sure those are followed. But I think it’s a lot more than that. Robin has done an outstanding job communicating and working with people across the state. I’m going to follow that model and certainly want to get out and talk with officials and coaches and administrators at athletic events all over the state. I know Robin does that now, and I want to continue that. Working with the legislators and being available is also important. The GHSA is often misunderstood, so being there [for legislators in particular] to answer questions is important. There’s a lot of office stuff to do. There’s not many in that office in Thomaston [the staff of 16 is small by high school association standards for a state Georgia’s size], but they put out a lot of work. I’d like to go do a football game and meet with officials and say thank you. You can’t do what you do without officials or administrators or the ticket takers on duty for that game.”

-What are some things you’d like to accomplish? “I think it’s a little too early for that. I want to meet with the staff and spend time with them. I know that Dr. Hines is a visionary leader, and I want to make sure we can align and continue moving in the direction it’s going because it’s a great organization, and I want to make sure it continues to be.’’

-What’s the best advice you’ve been given? “Robin said, ‘You’ve got to listen to them, Tim.’ That’s great advice. I want to make sure I listen to people and hear what they’re saying, and I can’t do that in my office behind a desk. They’re lot of real good people who have good ideas, and not just in sports, but the extra-curricular part with literary and one-act play and all that stuff.’’

-It’s still some weeks before you’ll be officially in your new position July 1. How are you spending time between now and then? “I’ve got to finish up school here in Dalton. My last day here is May 31. I want to finish out school right. Once that’s done, I’ll be working with Robin in June. Starting July 1, I’ll be there every day. I’m thankful for the opportunity. I look forward to working with the staff at the GHSA.’’