Heard-Mixon principal to serve as NCSS executive director

COVINGTON -- Heard-Mixon Elementary School Principal Lee Peck will serve as executive director for School Improvement at the Newton County School System.

The Newton County Board of Education unanimously approved the personnel recommendation Tuesday during its monthly meeting.

NCSS has received 20 applications to fill the newly created position, as announced with a reorganization of the central office on March 20. Samantha Furhrey, the newly appointed deputy superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, will oversee the new position.

"I am excited to be a part of continuing the great work that has already been started under (NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews) and Mrs. Fuhrey's leadership to prepare all of our students for the new college and career readiness standards," Peck said in a press release Wednesday. "I will do all I can to help all of our students to meet these new rigorous requirements that have been adopted by the GDOE (Georgia Department of Education)."

The executive director of School Improvement will be in charge of the directors of Federal Programs; Career, Technical and Agriculture Education; Student Services and Special Education, as well as serve as the School, Parent, Community coordinator and the Grants coordinator, according to the new organizational chart.

Since 2005, Peck has been principal at Heard-Mixon, which was named a Georgia School of Excellence this year and has been named a Title I Distinguished School each year since 2005. Prior to that, he was the assistant principal at the school for three years.

"Heard-Mixon is my home. I am sad to leave all of the faculty, parents and students that I have built strong relationships with over my nine years here," Peck said. "It has been both an honor and a privilege to have been principal here for seven years, and I wish them all the best for their continued success."

Peck began in NCSS as a teacher at Ficquett Elementary School in 1999 and began his career as an elementary school teacher in Columbia County Schools in 1994.

He holds a bachelor's degree from Augusta State University specializing in Early Childhood Education, a master's degree from Augusta State specializing in Elementary Curriculum and Instruction and an educational specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee specializing in administration and supervision.

"I have no doubt that Mr. Peck will bring the experience, research-base and expertise needed to assist NCSS in meeting new and rigorous accountability standards in the state of Georgia, be they at the elementary or secondary level," Mathews said in an email after Tuesday's vote.

Mathews said that Marquita Wilkins, current assistant principal at Heard-Mixon will serve as acting principal upon Peck's transfer, which is effective April 30, until the end of the school year.

"I know that Mrs. Wilkins and the staff will continue all of the best practices that take place on a daily basis and will continue to meet the needs of all of our parents and students," Peck said.

The Heard-Mixon principal position was posted Wednesday.