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King named state's top superintendent

Special Photo
 Rockdale County Board of Education members were in Atlanta when the Georgia School Superintendents Association named Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Samuel King as Georgia’s 2011 Superintendent of the Year. Pictured with King, center, are school board members, from left, Katrina Young, Darlene Hotchkiss, Jean Yontz, Wales Barksdale, Jeff Dugan and Brad Smith. 

Special Photo Rockdale County Board of Education members were in Atlanta when the Georgia School Superintendents Association named Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Samuel King as Georgia’s 2011 Superintendent of the Year. Pictured with King, center, are school board members, from left, Katrina Young, Darlene Hotchkiss, Jean Yontz, Wales Barksdale, Jeff Dugan and Brad Smith. 

CONYERS — The third time really was a charm.

On Friday during the annual conference of the Georgia School Boards Association and the Georgia School Superintendents Association in Atlanta, Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Samuel King was named Georgia's 2011 Superintendent of the Year, something he's been nominated for the last three years.

"It is an honor to have been chosen for this prestigious award, and I thank my family for their continued support through the long hours of my position," said King, who has led the school system to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress for the past five years of his six years at its helm. "I am fortunate to have the support of knowledgeable board members who share the vision of excellence for Rockdale County, and I am privileged to lead the hard-working and dedicated cabinet members, principals, administrators, teachers and support staff who make our students their number one priority every day."

In September, the Georgia School Superintendents Association announced that King was a finalist for the third consecutive year. He was up against Chris Erwin, superintendent of Banks County Schools, Dr. Emily Lembeck, superintendent of Marietta City Schools, and Leonard McCoy, superintendent of Colquitt County Schools, who were all chosen out of a field of 21 superintendents who were nominated this year.

"We are thrilled that Dr. King was named 2011 Superintendent of the Year for the state of Georgia," said Cindy Ball, director of Community Relations at RCPS. "As the leader of Rockdale County Public Schools, he expects his staff, parents and students to always strive for excellence. He cares about each and every student and the future that lies ahead. He continues to lead us with innovative yet research-based best practices and is truly deserving of this honor."

The Rockdale County Board of Education nominated King for the award again this year, citing accomplishments under his leadership including maintaining a debt-free school system and his work to develop and implement a five-year strategic plan using the community to assist in its planning and oversight.

"I think it is one of most well-deserved awards anyone can get," said Wales Barksdale, chairman of the school board. "He certainly earned it. He sticks by his mantra that you cannot make excuses for any child and be successful in education."

Last year, the title went to Paul Shaw, superintendent of White County Schools. In 2008, the title was awarded to Atlanta Public Schools Superintendent Beverly Hall.

"I think he should have had it each time, but we definitely feel really good about it," Barksdale said. "Nobody works harder than he does."

State winners across the country next will compete for the national title of Superintendent of the Year.