Administrative changes ahead for Newton Schools

COVINGTON Several administrative changes are occurring over the next few weeks for the Newton County School System.

Along with the retirement of current NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews at the end of this month, followed by the appointment of incoming Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey, come a few more changes.

The Newton County Board of Education approved last month the hiring of Dr. Allison Jordan, current assistant principal at Clements Middle School, to be the system's new director of Testing, Research & Evaluation, with the current director's departure at the end of this month. Carl Skinner resigned from NCSS to work as deputy superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in the Hickman Mills C-1 School District in Kansas City, Mo., where former Deputy Superintendent for Operations at NCSS Dennis Carpenter will begin as superintendent July 1.

Jordan was one of the 52 applicants for the director position.

"She has assisted Dr. Skinner for a good while now in the testing program," said Mathews. "As a result, Dr. Jordan knows the intricate details of our testing program and also possesses the technological skills needed to effectively conduct research as well as display the results. This position requires a sophisticated skills set, which Dr. Jordan enjoys."

Jordan has been with NCSS since 1994. She has been assistant principal and testing coordinator since 2011; she's also worked in the Work-Based Learning program and as a data analyst. Prior to working in NCSS, she worked as an instructor at Ogeechee Technical Institute in Statesboro and then at CNN.

She holds a bachelor of science in business and computer science from Georgia Southern University, a master of education in business and computer science/marketing from the University of Georgia and a doctor of education from UGA.

The school board also has approved Dr. Sandra Owens, current assistant principal at Newton High School, as the new principal for Alcovy High School, effective with the 2013-14 school year. The principal position was left vacant by LaQuanda Carpenter, who was principal at Alcovy High School since 2009. She and her husband Dennis requested to be released early from their contracts in February, after he accepted the Missouri superintendent position. The school board paid them nearly $70,000 in salaries and health insurance premiums as part of a settlement agreement.

"Dr. Owens has seven years of administrative experience served at NHS and Clements Middle School," Mathews said. "A National Board Certified Teacher and Georgia Master Teacher, I am confident that with the help and support of the Alcovy community, Dr. Owens will continue the upward trend of performance at AHS while, at the same time, improve both teacher and student morale."

Owens holds a bachelor of arts degree in accounting from the University of Central Arkansas, a master of science degree in human resources management from Central Michigan University, an education specialist degree in math education from UGA and a doctor of education degree in teacher leadership from Walden University.

"It is an honor and a privilege to be named as the new principal of Alcovy High School," Owens said. "I am also grateful to have the opportunity to work with such wonderful students, faculty and staff."

The school board also has approved Fuhrey's new NCSS organizational chart, which includes the hiring of two new positions at no additional cost to the budget, a Deputy Superintendent of Schools and a director of Secondary Curriculum & Instruction and Professional Development. Fuhrey is currently deputy superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction; Lee Peck, current executive director for School Improvement, will become the director of Elementary Curriculum & Instruction and Professional Development, as his current position dissolves with the new plan.

Fuhrey said the new organizational plan streamlines the central office staff without affecting the budget.

Mathews said Wednesday that interviews are expected to take place Tuesday, with a recommendation coming to the school board on June 25 at its monthly meeting.