Dr. Michael “Mike” Looney was approved as the new Fulton County School System superintendent by the Board of Education on May 2. He will start the job on June 17.

Dr. Michael “Mike” Looney. (Special)

Currently serving as superintendent of the Williamson County Schools, near Nashville, Tenn., Looney was the sole finalist for the Fulton job.

He replaces former Superintendent Jeff Rose, who made a surprise mid-contract resignation in late 2018.

Among the big issues Fulton Schools faces in the Sandy Springs area as Looney assumes leadership are controversy over the design of a future new North Springs High School; rising construction costs on the new Riverwood International Charter School; and the still-mysterious impacts of the Georgia Department of Transportation’s Ga. 400 and I-285 toll lanes on several district properties.

“As I was going through the interview process, I heard from the board how incredibly talented Fulton County students are and about the dedicated teachers, principals and staff,” Looney said in a press release. “When I visited, I saw this firsthand and became even more excited about serving this community. I plan to spend the first 90 days getting to know the people and digging deeper into Strategic Plan 2022. There is a great deal of outstanding effort going on and a vision already in place. My first job will be to evaluate what is working well and what challenges Fulton Schools have to tackle in order to improve for the future.”

“Dr. Looney’s experience and approach are the right fit for our schools at the right time,” said school board President Linda Bryant in the press release. “We have great confidence and optimism in his abilities. He has shown the willingness to be transparent, listen to the community, comes with a track record of results in student achievement, and is thoughtful in his approach toward teaching and learning, the most important role of the superintendent.”

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.