James D. “Jim” Smith was appointed the Superintendent of the Griffin-Spalding County School System (GSCS) in March 2015.
After just three years, Superintendent Smith was named a recipient of the 2018 Georgia School Superintendent Association (GSSA) President’s Award for his positive impact on students, staff and the community through his leadership, commitment to student achievement and implementation of many innovative and progressive programs.
One example of these programs includes the Griffin Regional College and Career Academy (GRCCA). The GRCCA is a joint venture between high schools and colleges across the Griffin Region including Butts County School System, Pike County School System, Gordon State College and Southern Crescent Technical College. The goal of GRCCA is to provide academic and real world experience to high school juniors and seniors through 16 different career pathways. Through the completion of a pathway students can earn college certifications, college credits, employability skills and entry level skills for many career options.
During his time as Superintendent, the district has made undeniable progress. The graduation rate has risen from 69.2 percent to 81.5 percent, 11 GSCS schools showed gains on the 2017 College & Career Ready Performance Index (CCRPI) and GSCS, in partnership with Georgia Tech, launched the STEM Summer Internship Program for high school students.
Under his leadership, GSCS received a five-year grant to implement Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education), a program to increase mental health awareness and access to resources for at risk students (only three systems in Georgia were awarded this grant). GSCS also received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting Award from the Government Finance Officers Association and the Association of School Business Officials for the 13th year.
Jim, a native of Griffin and graduate of Griffin High School, received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a major in accounting from Georgia State University in 1980. Upon graduation, he joined the local CPA firm of Hardwick and Hardwick and received his designation as a certified public accountant in 1982. After 16 years in public accounting, Jim joined the Griffin-Spalding County School System in 1997 as the Director of Finance. Over the next several years, Jim earned a Master’s degree in Education from the University of Phoenix and a Specialist in Educational Leadership degree from the University of West Georgia. He also completed the Superintendents Professional Development Program, a two year program designed by the Georgia School Superintendents Association. In 2009, Jim was named Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services and Chief Financial Officer before being named Deputy Superintendent in 2014.
A lifelong resident of Griffin, Jim served as President of the Kiwanis Club of Griffin and as Governor of the Georgia District of Kiwanis International. He currently serves on the Spalding County Board of Health and Griffin-Spalding Land Bank Authority. Jim, his wife, Janet, and two children are members of Griffin First United Methodist Church.