The Buford City Schools superintendent who was placed on administrative leave Tuesday for allegedly using racist language on two recorded conversations and allegedly discriminating against a black employee has ties to Cartersville.
Dr. Geye (pronounced Guy) Hamby was a "rising star" in the Cartersville City School System when he resigned from his position as principal of Cartersville High School in 2001 to become the assistant superintendent of the Buford system, former school board President Linda Benton said.
"He was held in high esteem," she said. "He was a rising star. We thought he would be potential superintendent material because of who he was and what he was. And then when Buford hired him as assistant superintendent in '01, it was very disappointing. We had high hopes for him. And he left."
According to the Associated Press, news outlets reported Tuesday that a race-discrimination lawsuit filed against Hamby says he repeatedly used slurs to refer to black workers at a construction site, saying he wanted to kill them.
The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, included recordings in which a person using racial epithets is identified as Hamby.
The plaintiff in the lawsuit, 66-year-old Mary Ingram, who worked as a paraprofessional for the Buford district for nearly two decades before being fired in 2017, said she was discriminated against for speaking up for the black community at school board meetings.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Hamby wrote in an email, “This is a personnel and legal matter pertaining to a disgruntled employee.” He also added he had been instructed by district counsel “not to comment.”
Buford school board attorney Walt Britt said in the AJC article that the authenticity of the recordings hasn't been determined.
Benton said she couldn't remember how long Hamby was at the high school or when he started in Cartersville "because it's been a long time ago."
But she said she knows he was the assistant principal at Cartersville Elementary, the principal at Cartersville Middle "for a short time" and then was moved to the high school "because we had total confidence in him."
"He was very personable and very qualified," she said. "He did a great job as a principal at the middle school and the high school. The high school job is a really tough job. He always represented the system well and handled things very capably."
Benton said she was saddened to hear the "devastating news" about the accusations lodged against Hamby.
"I was so disappointed to learn what had happened," she said. "It's very disappointing."