A longtime professional skydiver, Superintendent Dr. Mike Looney is known for jumping out of planes. Today the charismatic educator is jumping right into the school day routine as Fulton County Schools’ students start the 2019-2020 school year.
One of the first things on Dr. Looney’s schedule today was greeting the students at Cliftondale Elementary School as they filed into the building. He’ll wrap up his day just over a mile away at the Cliftondale Community Club’s monthly meeting as tonight’s special invited guest.
Dr. Mike Looney joined Fulton County Schools in June after serving as Superintendent of Williamson County Schools in Tennessee. He was named Superintendent of the Year in 2015 by the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents and previously was superintendent of the Butler County School District in Alabama. A public educator since 1994, Dr. Looney has served in the roles of classroom teacher, assistant principal and principal, and before that was a finance manager for a privately held corporation in Alabama.
Dr. Looney is a military veteran, having served in the United States Marine Corps, and became a teacher after a chance substitute teaching job led him to find a passion for educating others. He often speaks of his challenges growing up – homelessness, dyslexia and ADHD – and how they help him connect with students. His experiences also have laid a foundation for how he believes educators should positively interact with students, their families, and each other.
Earlier this year, Dr. Looney stated that the school board has done a great job engaging with the community and regularly attending community meetings. He said that he’ll also be attending as many community meetings “as humanly possible.” He’s delivering on that promise at tonight’s Cliftondale Community Club meeting.
The Cliftondale Community Club is a civic organization formed to enrich and encourage development of the local community through nonprofit service. The club’s education committee is led by South Fulton resident Bruce Moody. Historically, the committee has helped to keep residents informed of laws and policies impacting local students and their families.
Much like the Cliftondale Community Club, Dr. Looney recognizes that to ensure success, schools and communities have to work together.
“We can’t operate in a silo or in a vacuum,” said Dr. Looney. “We are going to be depending on the community to support the work that we’re doing.”
Tonight’s meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Cliftondale Clubhouse. The building is located at Cliftondale Park (4645 Butner Road) just behind the tennis courts.
Photo: Dr. Mike Looney attended a meet and greet with South Fulton parents at Westlake High School after being named a finalist for Fulton County Schools Superintendent.