Dr. Pritz Named Finalist for Georgia Superintendent of the Year
Posted On:
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Dr. Gordon Pritz
Dr. Gordon Pritz

Douglas County School Superintendent Dr. Gordon Pritz was recently selected as one of four finalists for Georgia’s 2017 Superintendent of the Year. “Dr. Pritz has continuously demonstrated effective leadership in the district and our mission to provide a quality education for every student in a safe and supportive environment,” said D.T. Jackson, Chair of the Douglas County Board of Education. “As a former teacher of elementary, middle and high school students, he helps our Board remain focused on the classroom to provide quality instruction. He has high expectations for students and works diligently to keep students and system staff on track for student success.”

With a career in education spanning 40 years, Dr. Pritz became superintendent in Douglas County in 2010. During his seven years with the Douglas County School System (DCSS), he has demonstrated consistent success and excellent management skills in leading the school system, sometimes during difficult years. Evidence of his fiscal stewardship includes the district maintaining 180 student days and a balanced budget throughout lean financial years. The voters of Douglas County demonstrated their vote of confidence by passing two Education Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax issues during his time as superintendent.

Students, teachers, schools, and the school system in Douglas County have seen improvement and have received accolades in many areas over the last few years. A few of the highlights include science teacher Casey Bethel being named 2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year; being named as one of six school districts in the state to be honored by the College Board with placement on the 6th Annual AP District Honor Roll; all five high schools being named by the Georgia Department of Education as 2016 AP Honor Schools; five elementary schools being awarded for Highest Performing or Greatest Gains on the CCRPI (College and Career Ready Performance Index); an improvement in the 2015 School Climate Star Ratings by the Georgia Department of Education; Lithia Springs High School being named one of seven schools in Georgia to earn STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) certification; Dr. Jessica Ainsworth being named 2015 National Assistant Principal of the Year; a record number of students (15) selected for the Governor’s Honors Program in 2016; a record number of students (4) selected as Gates Millennium Scholars; the school system being named one of the “Best Workplaces” by the Atlanta Journal Constitution for two years; and an improvement in SAT scores for three consecutive years.

Perhaps the most impressive improvement for the school system is the increased graduation rate. The four year graduation rate for 2015 for the school system was 88.2%, an increase of 12.6 points above the 2014 rate of 75.6. The rate for DCSS was 2nd highest in the state for districts of its size or larger and was higher than a number of metro Atlanta counties including Carroll, Carrollton City, Cherokee, Cobb, Coweta, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Haralson, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale.

During his tenure, Dr. Pritz facilitated all five high schools in developing magnet programs. Students from across the county can apply to attend a magnet program at a school inside or outside their district. Magnet programs at the five high school include International Baccalaureate, Fine Arts, Advanced Placement, Liberal Arts College Preparatory, AP Capstone, and STEM. Dr. Pritz has also championed two special high school programs. The College and Career Institute (CCI) offers technical college classes to high school students in a half-day program and a full-day option for current 9th and 10th graders. The Performance Learning Center (PLC) offers an alternative to the traditional high school setting. Students attend the PLC full time and learn at their own pace with certified teachers and educational software.

Another initiative undertaken by Dr. Pritz is Douglas County’s first school based health center which opened at Burnett Elementary in August, 2016. The health center serves students attending Burnett and Eastside Elementary as well as siblings of those students who attend feeder schools and their pre-school age siblings.

Dr. Pritz has encouraged teachers and administrators to build relationships with their students and families in order to keep students engaged and on the path to graduation. His belief in building relationships extends to his own involvement in professional associations and the community. He believes an engaged and supportive community is essential to the success of students and schools. In addition to numerous professional organizations, Dr. Pritz’s community associations include the Cobb/Douglas Board of Health; Cobb/Douglas Community Services Board; Kiwanis Club of Douglas County; Douglas County Chamber of Commerce (Advisory Board Member and Chairman’s Club Member); Douglas County Health Futures Board; Live Healthy Douglas Advisory Board; and Douglas County United Way Advisory Board. He initiated a National Day of Prayer Breakfast for Douglas County through United Way that raises funds and collects shoeboxes of supplies for homeless women and children in the community.

In addition to Douglas County, previous administrative experience for Dr. Pritz includes: Associate Superintendent/Operational Support, Cobb County School District, 2006-2010; Assistant Superintendent/Operations and Policy Development, Marietta City Schools, 2005-2006; Principal, Marietta High School, 1997-2005; and Assistant Principal/Athletic Director, East Paulding High School, 1995-1997. His teaching experience includes: McEachern High School, 1985-1995; Wheeler High School, 1983-1985; Powers Ferry Elementary School, 1980-1983; Argyle Elementary School, 1977-1979; and Meadowlawn Elementary in Indiana, 1977-1979.

The 2017 Superintendent of the Year will be announced in Atlanta in early December. The winner will advance to the national competition. Other finalists include Dr. Joseph Barrow of Fayette County; Dr. Jason Branch of Oconee County; and Dr. Allen McCannon of Madison County.