The Chattooga County Board of Education has voted unanimously to hire Chattooga High School Principal Jimmy Lenderman to be its next schools superintendent.
There are nine schools in the Chattooga County system: one high school, one middle school, four elementary schools, two district pre-k sites and an alternative school.
The two other finalists for the superintendent position were Jay Floyd, principal of Cartersville High School, and Glenn White, principal at Model High School. Floyd withdrew from contention on Aug. 2.
Lenderman graduated from Chattooga High in 1971 and returned in 2008 as assistant principal and athletic director.
"I want to thank the many citizens of the county who have supported the schools for so many years," Lenderman said after his selection. "I sincerely want to thank the individuals that voiced their opinion and helped me become the superintendent of your school system."
School board member Ron Williams was an early backer of Lenderman.
"In the last three years I have been associated with Jimmy at the high school, he has impressed me with how much he enjoys being around kids," Williams said. "I'd say that right now the high school has more teachers who feel the same way about kids, who enjoy teaching them, than it has ever had, and I think that's a result of him being the principal."
Williams also said he appreciated that Lenderman chose to come back to Chattooga County when he could have "gone anywhere in the United States."
"Jimmy is originally from this county, and he cared enough about it to want to come back here," Williams said. "For me, that may have been the most important thing."
Lenderman graduated from Jacksonville State University in 1975, then joined the Marine Corps, his resume states. He spent 27 years in the military, rising to the rank of colonel. He served as a helicopter pilot for President Jimmy Carter and later served in both the Desert Storm and Desert Shield campaigns in the Middle East.
Lenderman, who will be paid about $92,000 annually, campaigned aggressively for the superintendent job, at one point offering to work as both superintendent and principal of Chattooga High for the same pay.
Instead, the board on Thursday named Jeff Martin, a 1988 graduate of the high school, as principal at Chattooga.
Jimmy Espy is based in Dalton. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.