Cliff Jones, shown speaking at the Sandy Springs Education Force’s STEAM event in March, was hired as the new chief of staff for Fulton County Schools. (Bob Pepalis)

Fulton County Schools (FCS) named Cliff Jones to the newly created chief of staff position and hired a former district leader, Brannon Gaskins, to fill the chief academic officer position Jones had held.

“I am excited about this pairing of collaborative and professional leaders. I cannot wait to see the impact they will have on increasing outcomes for all students,” Superintendent Mike Looney said.

The school district leaders will work with an academic focus on leadership with the implementation of the Science of Reading, Every Child Reads and other educational initiatives, according to an FCS news release.

In the chief of staff position, Jones will work directly under Looney to unite people in and out of the organization. He will work with the superintendent, leading cross-functional district executive teams, and collaborating with school building-level leaders.

“To be able to serve the students, staff, and communities of Fulton County Schools in this new role is exciting. I look forward to bringing communities together for the benefit of all students,” Jones said.

Gaskins returns to Fulton from the University of Virginia’s Partnership for Leaders in Education. He provided executive leadership training to district superintendents and their executive staff and coaching to educational administrators.

Prior to that, he served as deputy superintendent/chief academic officer with Clarke County School District in Athens. In FCS, he taught in elementary school and served in administrative positions including principal of Liberty Point Elementary School. As Area Executive Director, he led the Banneker High School cluster of schools, which saw a 30 percent graduation rate increase within three years.

“I am extremely excited to return to the school district. As a resident of the district, I am deeply invested in the continued success of our students and look forward to advancing the district’s academic and strategic goals,” Gaskins said.

Jones has been an FCS member for more than 20 years. He began as a high school history teacher and assistant principal and served as principal at Milton High School for four years before being promoted to the district office.

He was the executive director of Accountability, Area Superintendent in the Northeast Learning Community from 2014 until his promotion to chief academic officer in 2018.

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.