Robert Avossa, Ed.D., became Superintendent of the Fulton County School System in June 2011. As Superintendent, he is responsible for the leadership, administration and management of approximately 96,300 students, 101 schools, 10,500 full-time employees, and an $878 million general fund budget.
Now in the fourth year of his superintendency, Avossa continues to inspire and drive innovation. His early achievements include Fulton's creation of a Learning Communities model that decentralizes certain aspects of district management and provides a higher level of service to schools and the community. He also led the school system to redevelop its approach to talent acquisition and management, particularly how teachers, school leaders and other staff are supported throughout their careers, and provided visible leadership during the 2011 eSPLOST referendum. Over its five-year life cycle, the capital campaign will fund nearly $1 billion in school and district improvements, approximately $200 million of which is devoted to enhanced technology.
Avossa also was successful in driving the school system forward in its quest for charter system status, which was granted by the Georgia Department of Education in 2012. The five-year charter serves as a contract between Fulton County Schools and the state and provides the district more flexibility in its operations. It also serves as the way the school system operationalizes its Strategic Plan 2017: Building Our Future, which has three large goals that serve as a measure for long-term student success: 90% of Fulton students will graduate on time; 85% of Fulton's seniors will be eligible for admission to a University System of Georgia college or university; and 100% of Fulton's graduates will be work-ready.
Early success stories are evident. Fulton County Schools' 2013 SAT scores remain among the highest in Georgia, with six schools ranked in the state's Top 20, and in the past three years Fulton has risen from being ranked eighth in the state to being ranked second in overall score. Also, the overall percentage of ninth-grade students on track for graduation increased from 76% in 2011-2012 to 81% in 2012-2013, which indicates progress toward the graduation rate target. Fulton's overall graduation rate also has risen more than 8% – from 70.1% in 2011 to 78.7% in 2014. Fulton also has the highest graduation rate – and the highest rate of graduation growth – among the large metro Atlanta school systems.
Employee and staff engagement also is higher. All Fulton schools have implemented School Governance Councils, which is one of the ways charter system status empowers parents and staff in flexibility, decision-making and involvement.
Before coming to Fulton County Schools, Avossa served as Chief Strategy and Accountability Officer for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in North Carolina, one of the largest systems in the country. In that role, he led the district in driving key performance management initiatives. He also served as an area superintendent and as Chief of Staff, both of which resulted in significant student achievement improvement, and before that spent more than a decade in Florida as a teacher and principal. He also is a graduate of the Broad Superintendents Academy, an advanced executive development program that identifies and prepares experienced leaders to successfully run large urban public education systems.
Avossa's experience as the leader of a large charter district is often sought for study committees that seek to improve education and how organizations effectively operate. In 2015, he was selected as a member of the Governor's Education Reform Commission, and in 2014 he was asked to join the state's Role of Federal Government in Education Study Committee and the Governor's Severe Winter Weather Warning and Preparedness Task Force.
Avossa holds a bachelor's degree in exceptional education and behavior disorders as well as a master's degree in special education, both from the University of South Florida, and a doctorate from Wingate University. He and his wife, Kellee, have two children who attend Fulton County schools.