ACC School Bus 2

Clarke County School District Interim Superintendent Xernona Thomas announced she tested positive for COVID-19. (Photo/Reynolds Rogers)

Xernona Thomas’s job title is now one word shorter. The Clarke County School District Board of Education announced Thursday that Thomas will be the district’s superintendent. 

Thomas has served as interim superintendent since the school board appointed her in December 2019 to replace the outgoing superintendent, Demond Means. Means resigned amid ethics complaints filed against him. He received a settlement of $637,000.

Born and raised in Athens, Thomas has three degrees from the University of Georgia, including a Doctorate of Education in educational administration and policy.

“Dr. Thomas had the board’s full support to guide the district through the transition and navigated a very challenging year,” Board President LaKeisha Gantt said. “As we moved forward, the board recognized her commitment and ability to lead the difficult task of ensuring an equitable education for all our students.”

In a statement, Thomas said she is responsible for providing “stability and leadership” as the district works to improve students’ outcomes, especially as the district navigates the COVID-19 pandemic

About one-third of CCSD students didn’t meet the standard in the Georgia Milestones Assessment System in 2018-19. The racial achievement gap is also double the state’s average.