School board approves four new principals

COVINGTON - During a special-called meeting of the Newton County Board of Education on Monday morning, the school board approved the appointment of four principals to fill vacant positions for the upcoming school year.

Since four principals at two high schools, one middle school and one elementary school announced their resignations over the summer, the board met in a special session to fill those vacancies.

As of July 1, Alcovy High School Principal David Easterday retired and Eastside High School Principal Robert Daria resigned to accept a position of assistant superintendent for Walton County Schools. Additionally, Veterans Memorial Middle School Principal Eric Arena resigned to accept the position of executive director for school improvement and operations for Jones County Schools, and Middle Ridge Elementary School Principal Karen Crowder resigned to accept a principal position at an elementary charter school in Cobb County.

"All of the individuals earned promotions or retirement," Newton County School System Superintendent Steven Whatley said. "While it does provide accomplishments with us and recognition ... it does create concerns for us (to fill the positions). We certainly wish them well in their endeavors and advancement."

In Monday's special meeting, the board approved a recommendation by Whatley for the appointment of principals LaQuanda Brown for Alcovy High School, Dennis Roddenberry for Eastside High School, James Peek for Veterans Memorial Middle School and Robert "Alan" Satterfield for Middle Ridge Elementary School.

Brown most recently served as principal of King-Danforth Elementary School in Bibb County, having previously worked as assistant principal for instruction at McNair Middle School in DeKalb County and as a reading instructor, reading specialist, reading teacher, language arts teacher and paraprofessional in DeKalb County.

Roddenberry is currently assistant principal and athletic director at Eastside High School, a position he's held since 2003. Since 1977, he has been a physical education teacher and coach at various schools in Florida and Georgia until he began as P.E. teacher and coach at Eastside in 2001.

Since 2003 Peek has been an assistant principal in charge of discipline and facilities and athletic director at Veterans Memorial. He came to NCSS in 1996 as a social studies teacher at Eastside High School.

Satterfield was serving as elementary and secondary special education coordinator since July 2007, after working as assistant principal at Indian Creek Middle School and Oak Hill Elementary School for three years.

Also at the special meeting, the board approved the appointment of Carl Skinner, current assistant principal at Newton High School, as director of testing, research and evaluation at NCSS, to replace Dr. Sheila Thomas. Thomas took over as director of Special Programs to replace Dr. Paulette Bragg, who moved up to director of special education.

Additionally, the board approved the transfer of Samantha Fuhrey from director of professional learning to director of secondary education and approved the resignation of Kathy Reese as director of secondary curriculum.

Whatley said the filling of these positions creates such vacancies as assistant principal positions and the director of professional learning, but the school system plans to advertise for these positions in order to fill them at another called meeting or during its monthly meeting on July 21.

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