Buford City Schools Superintendent Robert Downs announced on Thursday that he will retire at the end of the 2021-22 school year after more than three decades in education.

Downs’ plan is to officially retire on June 30, 2022, giving the Buford school board just over seven months to search for, and hire, a new chief for the district.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the Buford community in this capacity,” Downs said. “I have faith in our current administrative leadership to carry on Buford’s long-standing tradition of excellence when I retire. Even though I have announced my retirement, there is still so much to accomplish in my remaining time with the Buford Wolves.”

The Buford school board is expected to begin discussions on process for finding a replacement for Downs in the upcoming months, the school system said in a statement.

Downs has worked in education for 32 years, and served as Buford City Schools’ superintendent since January 2019. He replaced former Buford Superintendent Geye Hamby, who resigned in 2018 amid a racially-charged scandal over comments he allegedly made about Black people.

Downs graduated from the University of Georgia and worked at both the middle and high school levels before moving into district-level administration.

I'm a Crawford Long baby who grew up in Marietta and eventually wandered to the University of Southern Mississippi for college. Earned a BA in journalism (double minor in political science and history). Previously worked in Florida and Clayton County.

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