It’s official. Hazel hired as new superintendent

Published 6:20 pm Thursday, May 30, 2024

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Dr. Rachel Hazel has been officially hired as the new superintendent for the Troup County School System.

Hazel was approved during special called board meeting on Thursday, May 30.

The school system will host a public meet and greet for Hazel on Monday, July 1, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Administrative Services Center N. Davis Rd.

Following a nationwide search, community input meetings, and extensive interviews, the Troup County School System (TCSS) Board of Education selected Hazel as the next Superintendent of Schools effective July 1, 2024.

The school board made its final decision following a required 14-day waiting period on Thursday. Hazel was previously named the sole finalist for the position on May 16. She will succeed Dr. Brian T. Shumate who is retiring in June.

The superintendent search began in February when the board partnered with McPherson & Jacobson, LLC, an executive recruitment and development firm. This firm was used in the nationwide search when the board hired Dr. Shumate in 2019.

During the process, 33 qualified applications were received nationwide and locally. McPherson & Jacobson consultants reviewed, screened, and conducted extensive background checks on all applicants before presenting their findings to the board.

Four of those 33 applicants participated in a series of day-long in-person interviews and feedback sessions with community stakeholders, parents, teachers, and TCSS administrators, culminating with Board of Education interviews.

Hazel is currently serving as the Deputy Superintendent for Volusia County Schools in DeLand, Florida.

A native of Coweta County, Hazel attended school there until the 7th grade. She graduated from Pike County High School.

Hazel holds a Doctorate Degree from the University of Central Florida in Executive Leadership, a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Stetson University, and a Bachelor of Science in Exceptional Student Education focusing on Mental Handicaps from the University of Central Florida.

Hazel began her career with Volusia County Public Schools in 1996 as a front desk receptionist. At the school level, she has been a special education teacher, teacher on assignment, assistant principal, and principal. During her tenure, she has served on and led both the Teaching, Learning, and Leading division and the operational division of the school district.

Her district leadership experience includes serving as Executive Director of Curriculum, Chief Academic Officer, and Director of Human Resources.  As Director of Human Resources, Hazel negotiated contracts with three bargaining units during the COVID-19 pandemic and implemented and managed the district’s Strategic Plan.

She has contributed to books, presented nationally and internationally, and been featured in papers regarding her work in leadership coaching.