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Former Eastside, Cousins principal dies

COVINGTON -- Former Newton County School System administrator Dr. Robert Daria died Sunday evening after a sudden illness.

“Those of you that had the pleasure of working with and for Bob know what a fun-loving guy he was,” said Dennis Roddenberry, principal at Eastside High School where Daria previously served as principal. “As an administrator, it was not uncommon to come to your office one morning and find your desk turned upside down, chairs removed or experience some of what we called ‘Bobisms.’ I will continue to be thankful for the leadership and friendship that we shared and for the legacy of leadership that he personally left here at Eastside High School. He will be remembered as a friend and a brother to many of us and his great, fun-loving personality will constantly remind us not to take life too seriously."

Since July 2009, Daria, 40, had worked as assistant superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction at Walton County Public Schools in Monroe. He participated in Leadership Walton and also was nominated to become part of the Georgia School Superintendents Association’s Superintendent Professional Development Program.

“Dr. Bob Daria was a much-loved member of the Walton County Public Schools family,” said Gary Hobbs, Walton County Public Schools superintendent. “His professionalism and talent as an administrator were very important to the school system. We feel the loss of our fellow educator and friend deeply. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with his family at this difficult time.”

When Daria left the Newton County School System in 2009, he was working as principal of Eastside High School, a position he had held since July 2005 when he took over for retiring principal Ed Elmore.

“Newton County will always be home to me, and I have been provided with an extended family I can never replace,” Daria said when he left Newton in 2009. “The opportunities given and the faith they have in me have been incredible.”

In late 2008, the Georgia Department of Education named Eastside High School a Georgia School of Excellence. That year, EHS was the only Newton County high school to make Adequate Yearly Progress.

“I stayed in his office a good bit,” said Brandon Durand, who graduated in 2003 from Eastside. “I just know that he was dedicated in what he did. He always saw the best in the students and tried to get them on the road they needed to be on. I was thankful that he never gave up on me.”

Prior to taking the helm at Eastside, Daria was principal at Cousins Middle School beginning in 2003. He was assistant principal from 1998 to 2001 at Cousins and from 2001 to 2003 at Eastside; he began in NCSS as a science and literature teacher at Cousins from 1994 to 1998.

Daria started his career in education in Cherokee County as a paraprofessional at E.T. Booth Middle School in Woodstock.

He lived for nearly 14 years in Walton County and attended First Baptist Church of Conyers. He is survived by his children, Lauren Bailey and Jacob Robert, both of Loganville, as well as his parents, Robert John and Carol Ann Daria of Merritt Island, Fl.

In lieu of flowers, friends and family are asked to give to an education fund for his children.

Visitation is scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Tim Stewart Funeral Home in Loganville. His funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday at the same location with the Rev. Steve King and the Rev. Howard Greer officiating.