Hunter has been working closely with central office staff and administrators since the school board voted 6-1 on Feb. 21 to name him as the superintendent of Polk County Schools.
Right now, Hunter says he’s focused on the district’s budget. “I’ve been spending most of my time looking at the budget. The board is concerned because we’re going to have to find ways to cut the budget in order to keep from raising property taxes. We’ve got a great board and they want to find ways to do more with less,” Hunter said. “The last few weeks I have been going over the data and coming up with ideas to present to the board that will trim the budget and will not adversely affect teaching and learning.”
Hunter said in addition to the budget, continuing to implement the Common Core Performance Standards (CCPS) is also a challenge being
faced by the district. Prior to the start of the 2012 school year, the district had been teaching the Georgia Performance Standards curriculum. The CCPS, a state-led initiative, came about through the collaboration of governors, state school chiefs and Gates Foundation funding.
“It’s a very rigorous set of standards and the county is working on that. We have to put our kids in a position to be successful. Because of that, we’re having to change the way we teach them and the way we assess them. We have to get this really cranked up.”
Hunter is also an advocate of integrating technology into classrooms, but he says the key is not to just provide the latest in equipment, but to provide an instructional component as well.
“We’re really going to focus on instructional technology. This generation of kids learn very differently from others. I love the SmartBoards that we have in some of the classrooms and the iPad project for our ninth-graders. I think that’s excellent. It’s our job to make sure that we’re doing things in the classroom that kids can relate to and create an environment where they want to learn.”
Hunter will officially begin his duties as superintendent on March 18.
He replaces former superintendent Marvin Williams who retired in November 2012.
Hunter received his doctor of education degree in educational administration from the University of Arkansas in 1990. He earned an education specialist degree in educational administration in 1975 from Arkansas State and a master of education degree in counselor education from the University of Central Arkansas in 1971. He holds a bachelor of science degree in psychology and science from Central Arkansas.
Hunter has been a member of the Governor’s Education Finance Task Force and a member of Georgia’s School Delegation to Study United Kingdom School Finance.
In addition, he has served on the board of directors for the Georgia Schools Superintendent Association, was a chairperson for the RESA Board of Control and served as president of the Consortium for Adequate School Funding in Georgia.
Hunter previously served on the Georgia School Superintendent Association Legislative Committee and as a past board member of the Georgia Accrediting Commission. He is a former chair of the Department of Educational Leadership Program Review Committee at Valdosta State University.