Harris Co. School District Selects New Superintendent

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Thursday, February 29th, 2024

HCSD Board of Education names next Superintendent. Dr. Justin Finney will take over the position when Mr. Roger Couch officially retires at the end of the 23-24 academic year.

Following a comprehensive search process that commenced in October 2023, at a called meeting on Feb. 27, the Harris County Board of Education announced Dr. Justin Finney as the next superintendent of the Harris County School District (HCSD). Dr. Finney's appointment comes after a mandatory 14-day waiting period following the announcement of his selection as the finalist by the Board.

HCSD Board of Education Names Dr. Justin Finney Next Superintendent

“I’m humbled and honored to have been named the superintendent of the Harris County School District,” Finney stated when asked about his appointment. “We have some challenges, but we also have great opportunities. I’m looking forward to working with our faculty, staff, and parents on how we can take this district from great to one of the premier districts in Georgia as it takes all of us to help students to succeed.”

Bringing with him 24 years of extensive experience in public education, Finney has been a pivotal member of the HCSD community, serving most recently as the assistant superintendent of business services and technology for the district during the past six years. His journey in education spans various roles, including teacher, coach, assistant principal, and principal.

After the board announced his appointment, Finney thanked the Board of Education for the opportunity and thanked Superintendent Roger D. Couch for his leadership and mentorship over the last six years. “It has been my privilege to learn and grow at the central-office level under Mr. Couch’s leadership. He has stabilized this school district and led us through a pandemic while providing new facilities, such as the new Harris County Carver Middle School, the Science and Technology Center, the new indoor athletic complex, and the new tennis complex, and so many other improvements. I’m thankful that he will continue to be just a call away.” Couch will continue to serve as superintendent through May 31, 2024. Finney will assume the responsibility as of June 1, 2024.

The search for a new superintendent commenced promptly after the announcement of Couch's impending retirement, initiating a six-month process overseen by the Harris County Board of Education. Employing the expertise of search consultants King-Cooper and Associates, the Board meticulously reviewed 18 applications, conducted thorough candidate screenings, and engaged in comprehensive interviews before naming Dr. Finney as the finalist for the role.

A graduate of Columbus State University (CSU), Finney holds a B.S. Ed. Degree in Social Studies Education, alongside master's, specialist, and Ed.D. degrees from the same institution, specializing in curriculum and leadership. Prior to his career in education, Finney served 12 years in the military in U. S. Army Special Operations.

Finney's educational journey commenced in 2001 as a coach and teacher at Rothschild Middle School in Muscogee County, followed by a tenure at CSU from 2004-2007. He assumed administrative roles, serving as assistant principal at Harris County Carver Middle School in 2007 and later as principal of Mulberry Creek Elementary from 2010-2018, before ascending to the position of HCSD assistant superintendent in 2018.

In his pursuit of superintendency, Finney has diligently pursued professional development opportunities, including specialized training programs offered by the Georgia School Superintendents Association, as well as completing the rigorous Superintendent Professional Development Program.

Outside of his professional endeavors, Finney has been married to his wife, Terri, for 29 years, and together they have two grown children, Michael, and Madison, as well as two grandchildren.

Garnett Ray, chair of the Board of Education, expressed enthusiasm regarding Finney's appointment, stating, “We are delighted to have someone of Dr. Finney’s experience and ability to be our next superintendent. He has been a committed and loyal employee of Harris County schools. We have had a very deliberate and thorough search process, and I appreciate how well the Board has worked together through the search process.”

The Harris County School District is in Hamilton, Ga. For more information, visit www.harris.k12.ga.us or call (706) 628-4206.