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Board OKs principal for school
Ruth Anne Smith will head theme institution

COVINGTON - Less than a month after approving the plan for two parent-involvement theme schools in the Newton County School System, the Newton County Board of Education named a principal to head up the elementary school.

During last week's monthly BOE meeting, the board members unanimously approved the appointment of Ruth Anne Smith, who is the assistant principal at Palmer Stone Elementary School, to be the new principal of the elementary theme school, which is expected to be housed at the Fairview Elementary School site beginning in August.

Smith has been in education since 1974, according to her resume provided by NCSS officials. She started as a teacher in elementary and middle school grades in Henry County and moved on as assistant principal and principal at several Henry County schools. After serving as coordinator of professional learning and teaching again in Henry County, Smith came to Newton County in July as assistant principal at Palmer Stone.

Smith, who also serves as a member of several college and state councils, said she is looking forward to heading up the first school of its kind in the county. The parent-involvement theme school is designed to require a certain number of parent volunteer hours and have high standards for students.

"I think the theme school is going to be a wonderful opportunity for the community," she said in a press release from NCSS. "I just think that the opportunity for parents to be in school and actively involved and intertwined - that's just so powerful. ... I don't think it can get much better than to be able to be in your child's school and have more of a voice and have the opportunity to make more decisions in your child's education."

Although all of the details of the school aren't worked out yet, Smith said she wants parents to be involved on committees, help make decisions and keep close contacts with teachers.

"As a school, I want us to look at what parents want at the school," she said. "I see the school working as a community of parents, employees and students. ... When parents in the community are working together in the school, it has to make a big impact on students' education. You won't just be helping your child; you will be helping other children and the community."

It is not clear what will happen to current Fairview Elementary School principal Takila Curry.

"Administrator assignments for all schools will be announced when the superintendent makes his recommendations for the 2009-10 school year to the board later in the spring," said Sherri Viniard, director of public relations for NCSS.

No principal has yet been named for the middle-school theme school, which is expected to be housed at the Clements Middle School site beginning in August.

"We are still interviewing candidates for the middle school theme school, and no final announcement will be made until that process is completed and a name is recommended for board approval," Viniard said.

NCSS also plans to open Liberty Middle School and Live Oak Elementary School in August.

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.