DALTON, Ga. — With four terms on the Dalton Board of Education and having seen his four children graduate from Dalton High School and move into adulthood, Rick Fromm said Monday night he will step down as school board chair and will not run for re-election.
“It’s time,” Fromm said. “I don’t think that I ever expected that I would run for four terms. It is bittersweet. I think I learned much more than I ever imparted.”
At the school board meeting Monday night, Fromm made the announcements and recommended that Vice Chair Matt Evans take over as chair. Evans is in his first term. The moves would have to be approved by the school board members at their August meeting.
“If my colleagues are comfortable with me moving into that role, it would be an honor first and foremost,” Evans said. “We are a team. None of us can make any decision on our own. We have to work together and that is what we hope to continue to do, doing what is best for our district and our students.”
Fromm was first elected to the school board in 2003 and has served as chair since Danny Crutchfield left as chair in 2015 after deciding not to run for re-election. Fromm said continuity in the board is important to him.
“I think it is important that we are committed to a smooth transition,” Fromm said. “I feel there is good leadership throughout the board and Matt would do an excellent job.”
The board seats of Fromm, Tulley Johnson and Pablo Perez are up for election this year. Evans and board member Palmer Griffin were elected in 2017.
Through his years on the board, Fromm said the school system has faced and overcome many challenges. From a restructuring of school grades to dealing with the budget crunches of the Great Recession and now to the building of Hammond Creek as a 6/7 grade school, Fromm said agreeing on a direction was sometimes the biggest challenge.
“It couldn’t have been better life training because that is what happens in life and you have to rise to the challenges," he said. "As a board with a good team, it is mainly about finding your direction. We were able to navigate through that. The controversies that we have had, sometimes I think that becomes necessary. Where we are today is a very positive place. I don’t know if we would be here if we stayed in a safe environment and didn’t have some disputes.”
Crutchfield said Fromm’s intelligence and leadership will be missed.
“He wouldn’t want a lot of accolades, but he deserves every one of them,” Crutchfield said. “He is a very studious person, and I think he was able to supply a lot of brain power and a different point of view. Rick does a great job of bringing a real thirst and love of academia, but he also values and really appreciated the total student experience. Whether it is athletics, arts, theater, he has always wanted those kids to get as much as they could out of their abilities.”
In other business Monday, board members voted 4-0 with Perez absent to approve a third payment of $10.8 million and a final construction cost for Hammond Creek of $43.8 million to contractor Carroll Daniel Construction Co. The school, scheduled to open in August of 2021, will be paid for with funds from general obligation bonds approved by a referendum.