A former Muscogee County School District administrator has been fired from his job as superintendent in Taylor County.
The Taylor County Board of Education voted 3-2 Monday night without a public explanation to terminate Gary Gibson. The board hired him in November 2013 to succeed Wayne Smith, the 24-year superintendent who retired a month later.
Gibson was MCSD’s athletics director and chief administrative assistant to the superintendent. He told the Ledger-Enquirer in 2013 that he had applied for the MCSD superintendent’s position but wasn’t granted an interview before David Lewis was hired from Polk County, Fla., that summer to replace the retired Susan Andrews.
Gibson’s wife, Danna, is chairwoman of the communication department at Columbus State University.
The L-E hasn’t reached Gibson or any Taylor County board members for comment. The administrative assistant in the Taylor County superintendent’s office said only assistant Superintendent Jennifer Albritton would speak to reporters about this matter. Albritton released the following written statement Tuesday:
“Last night the board voted 3 to 2 to terminate the contract of the Superintendent, Dr. Gary Gibson. In another motion, the board voted 3 to 2 to appoint a former Superintendent, Mr. Norman Carter, as interim Superintendent.”
Carter was Taylor County’s superintendent from 1969-1990, preceding Smith.
Albritton told the L-E Wednesday morning, “I can’t make any other comment.” Asked why, she declined to answer.
Taylor County’s board members are chairwoman Mary Bentley of District 2, vice chairman Ronald Harris of District 4, Rufus Green II of District 1, Eloise Doty of District 3 and Joseph Patterson of District 5. Doty, Green and Harris voted to terminate Gibson; Bentley and Patterson voted no.
Macon TV station WMAZ reported more than 50 people gathered outside the school district’s office Tuesday to protest the board’s decision and support Gibson.
Taylor County parent Brenda Gates told WMAZ, “Things have changed here since Dr. Gibson has been on board. I mean have changed. Student scores are going up. He’s always doing updates. When somebody’s out, he’ll drive the bus. Grass need cutting, he’ll cut the grass. I ain’t ever seen a superintendent get out there and cut the grass or drive the bus, but he’s a good man.”
WMAZ quoted Taylor County High School sophomore Kenyadia Heath as saying through her tears, “He’s just encouraging, he’s like a second dad to us. We’ve, we’ve never seen nothing like it.”
According to Gibson, such change, especially trying to help impoverished and struggling students, was too much for a majority of the board. He told WMAZ, “There’s a group that wants to take care of the top 20 percent and the other 80 percent seem to get left out.”
Gibson called his dismissal a case of “small-town politics.”
He told WMAZ, “This is not unlike any other small town in America, and that’s part of this, for that small group to make every decision and to ignore groups like this. The plan will be to ignore this group that’s behind me.”