COVINGTON -- Although the Newton College & Career Academy isn't expected to be open to students until January 2012, its board of directors is actively involved in planning for the new school.
In June, the Newton County Board of Education approved a board of directors for the academy, as recommended by the Newton County School System, school board officials and partner DeKalb Technical College.
They are Danny Stone, manager of economic development at Snapping Shoals; Jerry Silvio, founder of Silvio Development Company; Kyle Anderson, president of Nanston Inc., a dental practice management company; Michelle Bryant Johnson, director of Marketing and Development with the Arts Association of Newton County and a parent of an Eastside High School student; Greg Richardson, director of Human Resources at Newton Medical Center; Carol Jones, human resources manager at SKC; and John Kelly, area manager for Georgia Power.
Recently the board met again to select officers. Stone was elected as chair, Silvio as vice chair and Johnson as recording secretary.
The members will serve on rotating two- and three-year terms, governing the organization under the direction and guidance of the school board.
At its meeting, which was held at the Rockdale Career Academy in Conyers, the group looked into business and industry partnerships -- business engagement committees were formed in each Career, Technical and Agricultural Education program area to develop input from businesses and industries for middle and high schools and the academy, according to its meeting report that was submitted to the Newton County BOE.
The board of directors also discussed Work Ready testing and training. NCSS hopes to test 100 percent of all seniors and wants to increase the number of students receiving gold- and platinum-level certificates that determine if they are ready to enter a certain work force.
The group plans to meet again in December, February, April and June and will provide a report to the Newton County BOE each time. When the new school opens in January 2012, the board of directors also will begin to evaluate it and the programs it offers.
The academy plans to serve between 300 and 600 students in grades 10 through 12 from each NCSS high school. Eventually, up to 1,000 students could make up the school, where mostly upper-level career, technical and agricultural education courses will be offered, NCSS officials have said.
The school is expected to begin student registration in March 2011. Student and building planning and staff training are ongoing.
The school is expected to house areas for business, cosmetology, early childhood education, public safety, graphic arts, broadcasting, engineering and manufacturing, health care, horticulture, construction and other programs, according to plans developed by Cunningham, Forehand, Matthews and Moore Architects Inc. A 13,800-square-foot area also is expected to be left open on the lower level for future use due to the slope of the land and grading work that was done.
In June, crews from Charles Sullivan Construction of Homer broke ground at the Newton High School campus to complete site work and grading. And recently, MEJA Construction Inc. of Jackson began the next phase of the $14 million project to construct the 181,100-square-foot, three-level building over an old parking lot near Newton High School's auditorium and agricultural area off Ram Drive in Covington.
The school is being developed using the $3 million in state grant funds awarded to the NCSS and DeKalb Tech as part of the Georgia Career Academy Project, an initiative spearheaded by Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in 2007. NCSS also will use $12 million in bonds through the Qualified School Construction Bonds with a 0 percent interest rate, as previously decided by the administration and later approved by the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission.