Craft officially named superintendent

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Apr. 30—Steven Craft will be the next superintendent of Dalton Public Schools.

The Dalton Board of Education made it official Tuesday, unanimously naming Craft to the post.

The chief of student services and activities will officially begin superintendent duties Thursday, May 16.

The approval came during a called meeting at City Hall.

Tim Scott, the current superintendent who began in the position in 2018, will continue to serve until May 15. Scott will then serve in an advisory role to Craft until May 28 when he will retire from the system and become the new executive director for the Georgia High School Association.

"We're naming someone as superintendent who has proven leadership ability in anything that he's been a part of," said Dalton Board of Education Chair Matt Evans.

Before calling for a final vote, Evans said there are three reasons why Craft is the perfect choice.

"Leadership, leadership, leadership," Evans said. "And he's a culture creator who's not afraid to tackle tough issues, but also lead people the right way. How you get there matters. I'm enthusiastic."

As chief of student services and activities Craft has been instrumental in "improving school safety" and "promoting extracurricular engagement," school system officials said in a prepared statement.

"With a clear vision for Dalton Public Schools, Dr. Craft emphasizes five core pillars: community, academics, athletics, fine arts and service/leadership," the statement said. "Through collaborative leadership and leveraging his extensive experience, he aims to unite the district around a common goal of enhancing student achievement and preparing students for success in both their academic and personal endeavors."

Craft said he is "truly honored and humbled."

"I am so thankful for the amazing teachers, building administrators and district leaders that are currently serving the students in Dalton Public Schools," he said. "We will continue to work together as we strive to increase academic rigor, increase student achievement and prepare our students for future success ... We will make sure that we continue to build trust between the district office and the school buildings and community. We will make sure that our teachers have a voice in how we serve the students in Dalton Public Schools."

Craft's contract calls for a three-year term concluding on May 15, 2027.

The contract states Craft will be paid an annual salary of $195,000 in equal monthly installments and "shall receive a percentage increase in his salary equal to any percentage increase received by administrators in the Dalton City School District."

The contact may be renewed, extended or renegotiated at any point during the next three years as long as the terms and conditions are met and in compliance with existing state law.

"I was fortunate to start working for Dalton Public Schools last April and then move to this unbelievable community in July," Craft said. "Over the past year, my wife and I have fallen in love with Dalton. This community has welcomed us with open arms, and we are truly thankful for that. We are excited to continue to be a part of this incredible community and what this future holds."

School board member Tulley Johnson said choosing Craft as Scott's successor is a "great decision."

"From what I hear from constituents from our community and from our staff, I think we have the right man for the job," Johnson said.

Sam Sanders, the vice chair of the board, said he has been "thoroughly impressed" by Craft during the last year.

"I've got nothing but good feedback from teachers, and we've had principals and administrators wholeheartedly endorse him within the district," Sanders said. "I'm looking forward to helping Dr. Craft in any way I can and I hope that our staff can get behind him and move us forward to the direction that we can go. I believe we're going to make great gains."

Board member Jody McClurg said she is "confident" in Craft's leadership abilities.

"During his interview, I was impressed with his humility," she said. "I'm very confident in our choice. I'd like to also thank Dr. Scott for his leadership the last couple of years. You will be missed. But I'm confident in where we are headed."

Evans thanked Scott for his six years as superintendent and his "almost 40 years in education."

"We owe you some gratitude because it's a noble calling and you've been doing it faithfully," Evans said. "We made progress in diversity, you've got us through (the COVID-19 pandemic), you executed the vision of the voters with the passage of the GO (general obligation) bond to build our first new building in 15-plus years (Hammond Creek Middle School) to address the overcrowding and give us academic and instructional flexibility that we did not have. I just want to thank you for that."

Evans said he is "looking forward" to Craft's leadership as Craft prepares to settle in to the superintendent role.

"I'm looking forward to you becoming part of this governance team, leading this cabinet, your principals and our 10 schools," Evans said. "Your leadership is what I think we need culturally and strategically. Your emotional intelligence is incredibly strong. You can know a lot about a lot of things, but if you don't know how to lead people and touch their heart, you will fail. Since I've seen you, anything you've touched, you've added value to."

Evans, who has two sons in the school system, said the day marks a milestone for the system.

"You're my two boys' superintendent, you're my hometown superintendent and today, you're the superintendent of Dalton Public Schools," he said. "So, congratulations."