MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) -- Hugs, hand shakes, and standing ovations greeted Dr. E. Steven Smith at the Bibb County Board of Education Monday afternoon.
Dr. Smith took his oath of office as the interim superintendent of Bibb Schools in front of a packed house, and energetic crowd. He said he was flattered by the show of support from former colleagues, friends, board members, and his family.
"It makes me even more motivated," said Smith.
Now, he says, it's time to get down to work.
"What I'll be asking them is what do they see are the major challenges in our school system, and I'll limit them to the top two or three," said Smith.
Those are questions he'll ask the board, teachers, parents, and community members. He says the answers will help him begin to get Bibb schools back on track.
"You need to focus in on what needs to be done immediately in order to help the system heal, in order to restore credibility, and in order to make a smoother transition for the permanent superintendent," said Smith.
As a former principal and a current special education teacher at Springdale Elementary, Dr. Lisa Garrett believes the board of education found the perfect man for the transition into the future.
"I think you know as a system everything's been looking a little glum for the past few years and I think he can really bring us together and bring us some hope," said Garrett.
Hope and healing. Dr. Smith and Bibb School Board President Dr. Wanda West say that needs to happen within the board and then throughout the district.
"I do believe that together we'll be able to grow the board, grow the community, uh, solidify the staff, and begin to move in a new direction," said West.
A new chapter, Dr. Smith is thrilled to have a hand in. He says he can think of no better way to give back to the community who helped him succeed.
"Giving a year of my life to help a community like Macon and Bibb is a small thing in return for how much they've done for me," said Smith.
Dr. Smith says his first goal is to get the board working as a team. He'll start meetings with board members this week. Then, he'll decide which areas are the most important and need to be addressed first.