February 15, 2022–4:22 p.m.
ROME CITY SCHOOLS
After serving five years as Superintendent of Rome City Schools, Mr. Louis Byars is announcing his retirement.
Byars’ last day will be May 31.
He shared the following letter:
Louis C. Byars
After much prayer and discussion with my wife and family, I had made the decision that it is time to retire from Rome City Schools at the end of the day May 31, 2022. The decision was difficult because I love Rome City Schools. From attending Fourth Ward Elementary, West Rome Junior High School, and West Rome High School to eventually being able to serve as Superintendent for the last five-plus years, I have cherished my time here with Rome City Schools. I have crossed paths with numerous people along the way. From my classmates and teachers at Fourth Ward to the students and teachers today, I love them all.
I am so proud of the growth that Rome City Schools has experienced over these last five-plus years. I am proud of not just the growth in the number of students but also in all aspects of the education we are providing. I have been able to see Main Elementary transform from a school of five different buildings to a beautiful new school where students are safe and can be proud to attend. I have seen us put into practice the mission statement of “All students graduating from Rome High School prepared for college or work”. We did this by increasing our Advanced Placement offerings from 16 to 27, expanding our Dual Enrollment program by over 15 times, and building a new College and Career Academy that is second-to-none. We have grown our Career and Technical Courses/Pathways from one at Rome Middle School (RMS) and nine at Rome High School (RHS) to six at RMS and thirty at RHS.
We have reduced class sizes and improved employee benefits (increasing salaries, providing housing, and offering tuition assistance) while achieving the largest fund balance ever in the district. We have increased the graduation rate to 93% while closing the gaps within all our subgroups. I am also extremely proud to see the diversity of our staff and leaders increase dramatically over the last five years with an increase in minority employees by over 76% and by 325% amongst the leadership team.
Over the past five years, we have had many challenges from having to take over the transportation in less than six months to dealing with COVID for the past two years. I am proud to say that our students, staff, leadership, board members, and our community have helped us step up to these and every other challenge. This became evident in the accreditation visit by Cognia last year when they recognized these great accomplishments. We received a score of 381.61, which was the highest in the State of Georgia and one of the top scores worldwide earning Rome City Schools the honor of being awarded “Accreditation with Distinction”.
I am extremely honored to have been a part of this great journey over the past five-plus years. I could not have done it without the support of my wife and family as well as the many people that have come to work each day to serve the students of Rome City Schools. However, I realize that it is time for someone else to take the helm of the district and take it even further. The Board of Education is committed to building upon the success we have achieved. I am certain the Board of Education will soon begin to work on the selection process to determine the next Superintendent of Rome City Schools.
I have been truly blessed to serve the students, parents, staff, school board, and the community as Superintendent for the past five-plus years and look forward to the completion of this school year. Rome City Schools will always be in my prayers and I am truly honored to have been able to serve as its Superintendent.
PROUD TO BE PART OF THE PACK!