James Martin appointed Harris County superintendent

benw@ledger-enquirer.comApril 10, 2014 

In a unanimous vote Thursday, the Harris County Board of Education appointed James D. Martin as the new superintendent of the Harris County School System.

Martin, the superintendent of the Chattahoochee County School District, assumes his duties in Harris County on July 1.

An educator for 25 years, including six as the school chief in Chattahoochee County, Martin said he’s looking forward to continuing a tradition of high standards in Harris County.

“I am humbled and extremely honored to have been chosen as the superintendent of the Harris County School District,” Martin said minutes after the vote. “I look forward to working with the students, parents, administrators, staff, school board members and community leaders to continue the Harris County School’s tradition of high standards known throughout the state.”

During the 6:30 p.m. meeting, board member Tim Edgar called for the motion to appoint Martin, the only finalist considered to fill the position left vacant by the Dec. 31 retirement of Superintendent Craig Dowling. The seven-member board unanimously agreed to hire Martin.

Board chairwoman Karen Hopkins said the board is thrilled that Martin will be superintendent of Harris County Schools. “He comes highly recommended by his current board,” she said. “His experience, education and personality make him an excellent fit for the Harris County School System.”

Christy Humber, the Chattahoochee County board chairwoman, hasn’t been reached for comment since Martin was named the Harris County finalist, so ChattCo’s plans to find his successor are unclear.

Hopkins said Martin’s salary will be same package Dowling received. The former superintendent’s salary was $135,000 a year. Martin’s current salary is $107,800.

Martin is leaving a district in Chattahoochee County with about 970 students and moving 40 miles to Harris County, a larger system with about 5,200.

Martin, 47, is a 1989 graduate of Auburn University with a Bachelor of Music in Education. In 2003, he earned a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Auburn.

Jeff Branham, who has held the human resources director’s position since 2010, will continue serving as interim superintendent until Martin’s July start date. After Martin assumes his duties, Branham will continue working as human resources director.

Martin will join Branham Friday for visits to Harris County schools. “We want to continue the positive momentum and at the same time try to stay in touch with the community, the teachers and students and see what they want and what their expectations are,” Martin said.

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