COVINGTON -- A group of school staff members and parents have petitioned the Newton County Board of Education to promote a current employee as the system's next leader.
During the board's monthly work session Tuesday, Lynn House, an instructional coach in the Newton County School System, read a petition that was organized by her and signed by a group of nearly 50 parents, teachers and other employees, asking that the board promote Samantha Fuhrey as the system's superintendent, upon Dr. Gary Mathews' retirement in July.
In March, the board approved a recommendation by Mathews to promote Fuhrey from executive director of Secondary Education to deputy superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction. Board members Eddie Johnson and Almond Turner opposed the motion because of the hiring process used in her promotion.
Fuhrey has 20 years experience and holds a specialist degree.
Before 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.
"We feel strongly about what is in the best interest of our students/children," reads the letter. "We are convinced that our system, after much work, is finally headed in the right direction. Opportunities for our students/children are expanding in many ways, including preparing them to flourish in the community and compete in a global society. We would like to see the programs and initiatives, currently in place, continue.
"Mrs. Fuhrey is not only familiar with these programs; she has played an integral part in their implementation," the letter continues. "The investment and support, for the district, demonstrated by Mrs. Fuhrey is unparalleled."
The school board did not respond to the letter during its meeting.
The board members later approved a list of superintendent qualifications that will be used in a recruitment effort through the Georgia School Boards Association. In December, the board approved GSBA to conduct a search for its next superintendent for a cost of $8,000; the search could be wrapping up by the spring.
The board approved several qualifications that would be required of a candidate:
-- holds or is eligible for a Georgia Leadership Certificate at the L-6 or higher level;
-- has experience as a principal;
-- has experience as a classroom teacher;
-- is of good moral character and not convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude (required by Georgia law); and
-- has no immediate family member serving on the school board or employed as an administrator in the school district after July 2009 (required by Georgia law).
The board also approved a list of preferred qualifications:
-- holds a terminal degree;
-- has a record of successful experience as superintendent, central office administrator, other executive level position in education or executive level management experience in the private sector;
-- has outstanding leadership skills in educational administration, curriculum, instruction and personnel management;
-- utilizes team-building approach to educational leadership and is committed to maintaining open communication and fostering cooperative relations among the school district, school board and community leaders and organizations;
-- has a proven record of sound fiscal management, including budgeting and educational finance;
-- maintains high expectations of personnel in the areas of leadership, professional conduct and support of the school system;
-- holds high expectations of students in the areas of academics, discipline and extracurricular involvement;
-- is an effective public speaker with demonstrated oral and written communication skills;
-- is involved in school and community activities;
-- is involved in professional organizations; and
-- holds high standards of ethical and moral conduct; a role model.
Editor's note: This article clarifies the motion opposed by Eddie Johnson and Almond Turner.