The Fulton County (Ga.) school board has selected Mike Looney as the district's next superintendent.
“Today is the conclusion of a thorough and thoughtful process,” says board president Linda Bryant.
Looney received a three-year contract and is set to begin work in Fulton County on June 17.
He will receive a base yearly salary of $329,000, an 11.5% increase over the $295,000 salary paid to previous superintendent Jeff Rose.
In other large Atlanta-area districts, DeKalb County superintendent Steve Green makes a base salary of $306,000, and Gwinnett County superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks, who has held the position since 1996, makes a base salary of $357,418.
In addition to his base salary, Looney will receive a $1,250 per month expense allowance, an $800-a-month automobile allowance, and reimbursements for insurance, fuel, service and repairs.
Looney, 56, takes over after the resignation of Rose last fall. The board did a national search to find Rose’s successor and interviewed seven of the 40 applications it received from qualified candidates.
“I will bring a laser focus to student learning like we haven’t seen in recent times,” Looney said during brief remarks after the vote.
Looney has been the superintendent of Williamson County Schools for nearly a decade. The affluent district covers a suburban area outside Nashville and has about 40,000 students, about half the enrollment of Fulton County.
Last year, The Nashville Tennessean reported that Looney was charged with assault after an encounter with a student at Franklin High School. Police and paramedics were dispatched to Franklin High Tuesday to deal with a psychological emergency involving a student.
Police say that while they were working to take the student to the hospital, Looney abruptly entered the room, grabbed the student by her arm, and forced her out of the school and to his vehicle.
Two months later, a judge dropped assault charges against Looney after ruling that neither the student nor her mother faced the threat of imminent bodily harm.
Also in 2018, Looney went on medical leave after learning he had a tumor in his pancreas. He returned to work after surgery to remove the cancer.
Before working in Williamson County, Looney served as superintendent of Butler County Schools in Greenville, Ala., and as assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction in Montgomery Public Schools in Alabama.