COVINGTON -- The Newton County Board of Education approved the promotion of a current director and the reorganization of the central office this week.
During Tuesday's monthly meeting, the school board approved the promotion of Samantha Fuhrey to deputy superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, effective April 16. Board members Eddie Johnson and Almond Turner opposed the motion, which was a recommendation from Mathews.
Fuhrey currently serves as executive director of Secondary Education at the Newton County School System; earlier this month, Dr. Ken Proctor announced that he is resigning from his position as executive director of Elementary Education at NCSS effective April 13.
Mathews said the executive director positions will no longer exist as of April 16. The deputy superintendent position will earn $109,122, compared to Fuhrey's current salary as an executive director of $96,410, Mathews said Wednesday.
"Financially, the school system will continue to have the advantage of a large part of the savings gained from the prior reorganization which saw the retirement of the associate superintendent for Instruction, Linda Hayden, and the elevation of (the executive directors)," Mathews said during Tuesday's meeting.
Johnson and Turner said that although they have no problem with Fuhrey, they would rather have the position posted and hold interviews to select a candidate.
"This is a promotion, not just a lateral transfer," Turner said.
However, board member Jeff Meadors pointed out that there were "clear incidents" that set a precedent for Mathews' recommendation.
Mathews said that most recently, the board approved promotions when his predecessor Dr. Steven Whatley moved from associate superintendent to superintendent, when Dr. Dennis Carpenter moved from associate superintendent for Human Resources to deputy superintendent and when Proctor and Fuhrey were moved from directors to executive directors. Mathews said all of those were handled by moving individuals without holding open interviews and each were allowed under school board policy.
Furthermore, Mathews said holding interviews for the position would simply be a "charade" because he would ultimately hire Fuhrey to fill the position.
"NCSS must fill the void left with (Proctor's) exit," Mathews said in his recommendation. "I believe Ms. Fuhrey's work record and level of expertise in curriculum, instruction, assessment, staffing, professional development, supervision and program management make her imminently qualified to assume this post."
He said Wednesday that she has 20 years experience and holds a specialist degree.
Prior to moving to the district leadership level in 2008 to become the director of Professional Learning, Fuhrey worked from 2005 to 2008 as principal of Indian Creek Middle School, where she was previously an assistant principal at the school. Prior to joining NCSS in 2000, she worked in DeKalb County.
"I have always been grateful for the opportunity to serve the children, families, and educators of Newton County, and I look forward to continuing my work in this newly assigned position," Fuhrey said.
With the promotion comes a reorganization of the system's organizational chart and the search for an executive director of School Improvement.
"This recommendation reorganizes the central office while not adding additional bodies to central administration," Mathews said.
Under the direction of the superintendent will be the deputy superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction, which will be held by Fuhrey, and the Deputy Superintendent for Operations, which is currently held by Dr. Dennis Carpenter.
Fuhrey will be over the executive director of School Improvement, which has yet to be filled, as well as elementary and secondary school principals.
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 the School, Parent, Community coordinator and the Grants coordinator.
The Deputy Superintendent for Operations will remain over the directors of Operational Services, Human Resources and Support Services, as well as the business manager, maintenance coordinator and School Nutrition Program coordinator.