Georgia county’s schools chief on medical leave

Clarke County School District Superintendent Xernona J. Thomas (Courtesy of Clarke County School District)

A school superintendent for a Georgia county is taking a temporary leave for medical reasons.

Clarke County School District Superintendent Xernona Thomas began her leave Jan. 6 and expects to be absent the next five to seven weeks, and thus will not be engaged in the district’s day-to-day operations, The Athens Banner-Herald reported.

Chief Academic Officer Brannon Gaskins will serve as the district’s acting superintendent in Thomas’ absence.

Thomas said the decision to take a leave was made in the best interest of her health. Specifics about her condition were not disclosed.

"I have complete confidence in Mr. Gaskins and my administrative team to continue to focus on our strategic priorities and do what’s best for our students. I am committed to returning to the school district as soon as possible," Thomas said in a letter to the community.

This year will be Thomas’ last as superintendent, after announcing her retirement in November. She said she plans to step down on Dec. 31, following 31 years in public education, having served the last of those years as the district’s interim superintendent before being named superintendent.