Judge swears in new school superintendent, BOE member

Photo by Tori Boone

Photo by Tori Boone

COVINGTON -- The Newton County School System's new Superintendent Gary Mathews is keeping busy this summer.

Since officially beginning his new job Thursday, he's been meeting with school leaders and community members, learning about the school system and thinking about the future of NCSS.

But he also took some time for a special event on Tuesday morning.

Superior Court Judge Samuel D. Ozburn swore in Mathews before a special-called meeting Tuesday morning in the board room of the Newton County Board of Education building.

"I'm honored to do this," Ozburn said. "I'm a product of the Newton County schools ... and (my family and I) have lived here all of our lives."

Some of Mathews' new co-workers looked on as Ozburn read his responsibilities, as he is receiving taxpayer money.

"I look forward to a long tenure of service here, working with the community and staff," Mathews said. "I'm very committed to ... teaching for learning of all kids."

Mathews, who most recently worked as superintendent of the Wiliamsburg-James City County Public Schools in Virginia, replaced retiring NCSS Superintendent Steven Whatley. He retired June 30, at the end of the 2009-10 school year, after more than 20 years at NCSS -- four as superintendent -- and after 36 years as an educator.

In March, the Newton County Board of Education selected Mathews from among 51 applicants as a replacement. Mathews, who began his education career in 1976 as a high school teacher in Louisiana, has more than 18 years of experience as a school district superintendent, previously working in Texas, Missouri, Louisiana and Florida.

Also on Tuesday, the judge swore in the new Newton County Board of Education member, Greg Proffitt. He will serve until January to complete the remainder of C.C. Bates' term, as approved by the school board in June. The District 5 representative resigned in June to move and accept a position at Clemson University in her home state of South Carolina.

Proffitt, the vice president of Newton Federal Bank in Covington, is husband to Indian Creek Middle School teacher Betsy Proffitt and father to a rising seventh-grader at ICMS and a rising fourth-grader at Ficquett Elementary School.

In January, the candidate elected during the Nov. 2 general election will take over. Sharon Sawyer is the Democratic candidate, and Abigail Coggin is the Republican candidate, after two other Republican candidates dropped out of the July 20 primary election.