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School board pegs internal candidate as next superintendent; Fuhrey will be first female superintendent

COVINGTON — The Newton County Board of Education selected Samantha Fuhrey, current deputy superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for the Newton County School System, as its next superintendent.

The board approved a motion made by board member Jeff Meadors and seconded by Vice Chair Shakila Henderson-Baker in a 3-2 vote at its monthly work session Tuesday. Board members Eddie Johnson and Almond Turner opposed the motion.

A nearly full board room of teachers and other school system staff, parents and community members stood and applauded the approved motion.

“I’m absolutely delighted to have been selected. I cannot wait to continue the progress and work we’ve done,” Fuhrey said after the vote. “I look forward to the challenge.”

Fuhrey will be the first female superintendent of NCSS, which she said was “amazing.”

“What an honor to be selected in that roll,” she said with tears in her eyes. “It’s overwhelming.”

Current NCSS Superintendent Gary Mathews is set to retire July 1.

“I am certain that still more progress will find our public schools in the years ahead given Ms. Fuhrey’s long-time commitment to the community and school system,” Mathews said in an email to staff after the vote.

Fuhrey has served in her current position for just over a year, after she moved to the district leadership level in 2008 to become the director of Professional Learning. She was principal of Indian Creek Middle School from 2005 to 2008, after having been promoted from assistant principal, a position she held from 2001 to 2005.

“I think in order to see progress and really make our mark, you have to know what’s going on. We need someone who believes in it and who’s invested in it,” said Baker. “I hope to continue to see progress.”

Fellow board member Abigail Coggin said she has received input from faculty, students and the community about the next superintendent.

“I feel like we’re moving forward. We’re on the right path right now, and we don’t need change,” she said. “We just need to move forward and progress even further.”

Johnson and Turner did not give a reason why they opposed the motion to approve Fuhrey; the two also voted against Fuhrey when Mathews recommended to promote her from executive director of Secondary Education to deputy superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in March 2012, saying they had no problem with her but were against the process of promoting her instead of holding an open application period.

After Meadors’ motion, Johnson made a motion to accept Price; however, school board Chair Abigail Coggin told him that the first motion had to pass or fail before another motion could be made.

Johnson and Turner did not return calls seeking comment as of press time Wednesday.

“I will do everything and anything I can to support you to continue progress,” Turner said after Tuesday’s vote. “It’s been a very stressful situation for all of us.”

Prior to her employment with NCSS, Fuhrey worked for the DeKalb County School System as an assistant principal and an English teacher.

“I would not be here if it wasn’t for all the folks I’ve worked with over the past 20 years,” she said. “It’s an example of hard work, dedication and commitment.”

Fuhrey earned her bachelor of science degree in secondary English from Marywood University in 1991 and her master’s degree in educational leadership from State University of West Georgia in 2000. She added an education specialist’s degree in educational leadership from Georgia College and State University in 2006.

She has served as a leadership preparation performance coach, presenter at the International Reading Conference; volunteer for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation; volunteer for Covington Relay for Life; former volunteer treasurer/board member for Newton County Literacy Volunteers; and presenter at Griffin RESA’s Summer Leadership Conference. She has also conducted workshops on leadership development, teacher leadership, corrective reading, literacy across the curriculum and reading fluency.

Fuhrey said Tuesday that the transition to superintendent should be smooth.

“I work right next to (Mathews),” she said. “We’ll be elbow to elbow here on out.”

When not at work, Fuhrey enjoys spending time with her daughter, reading, painting, sewing and spending time with the community at her family restaurant, Double Dips in Oxford.

Georgia School Boards Association conducted the search for $8,000, and 34 applications from across the nation were submitted for the open position of superintendent. Fuhrey was one of three finalists; the other two were Samuel Paul Light, superintendent of the Illini Bluffs Community Unit School District #327 in Glasford, Ill.; and Noris Felicia Price, deputy superintendent for the Clarke County School District in Athens.

Comments

amp72 11 months, 1 week ago

I want someone to ask Johnson and Turner why they opposed. Why can't anyone ask the tough questions? I want to hear it straight from them why they opposed her selection. This county will be better off when those two are gone.

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SaveEastsideHigh 11 months, 1 week ago

Man AMP72 you are right on it. In this town is anyone unsure of why they voted NO. No we are very sure why. These two need to go and they need to go asap. I lost all trust in Turner last night all of it. Of course this is all my opinion in case there are any Carpenter types hanging on. Thank God for Meadors, Baker, and Coggins.

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TeacherMan 11 months, 1 week ago

Turner & Johnson are out of touch. They are apparently still living with old agendas. Just sitting in the meeting the other night was shocking in terms of the bad English spoken and breaking rules putting a motion on the floor when one is already on the floor and has not been voted on. I think these two will be sore losers for a long time. It is time for Georgia to make a master's degree a requirement for anyone to qualify for a school board position. I guarantee you then we would see better schools in GA. From where I sat it looked like it all happened so fast that Johnson could not find his groove and thank God the motion for Mrs. Fuhrey was thrown on the floor in lightning speed. It was all over in less than 60 seconds and the right choice was made.

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RebSMM 11 months, 1 week ago

A higher degree will NOT fix the English problem. I worked for NCSS for 10 years and I came across several educators that held Ed.S or PhD degrees and they were unable to speak properly. It is my opinion that if you can't get your subjects and verbs to agree, then you shouldn't be teaching our children.

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MonsterMash 10 months, 3 weeks ago

It is shocking how poor the English is spoken in the school system. They have promoted all these online degree types and these people who violate the English language - think On Today??? Who says that? On tomorrow? Where in heck did that come from? There is so much house cleaning to do in NCSS and it needs to start with board members and go right on down.

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MonsterMash 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Still no word from Turner or Johnson on this but we will make it loud and clear when they run for reelection. Of course they will they have nothing else to do it would appear in my opinion.

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eyewitness 11 months, 1 week ago

Thank you JEFF MEADORS for making the motion to appoint. Thank you SHAKILA HENDERSON BAKER and ABIGAIL COGGIN for supporting the motion. This is the right decision for NCSS. Let's support Mrs. Fuhrey and keep things going in the right direction. I am so proud tonight of these three elected officials and this fine home grown administrator. Thank you all again and again. We must keep elected officials in office like this who will rise above the fray and the chatter and the agendas and do the right thing. I feel better about NCSS than I have in years.

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tomgahunter 11 months, 1 week ago

Thank you Shakila Henderson-Baker, it is good to see 3 board members interested in NCSS students.

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TheUpside 11 months, 1 week ago

Thank you Mr. Meadors for pushing the negative types out of our system and recommending Mrs. Fuhrey. Mrs. Fuhrey will do well and we all thank you so much for recognizing her talents and to the other board members Baker and Coggin thank you so much. NCSS is on the right road.

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Lucy30016 11 months, 1 week ago

Sort of shocking but still not surprising that some of these board members cannot bring themselves above personal and I guess cultural agendas. Sad sad day to be represented by two of these who can't own up to their agenda. But thank the good Lord we have three who are bold enough to get it right. Districts 2 and 4 please think hard about who you vote for next time. Too late for about 4 years.

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Del 11 months, 1 week ago

maybe.....just maybe Eddie Johnson and Almond Turner need to realize that most likely the thunderous applause was not only for the new superintendent, but also the fact they were defeated soundly

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NoSPLOST 11 months, 1 week ago

They are an embarrassment to our entire system. Employees do not respect them rather tolerate them. Suddenly the cat got your tongues EDDIE & ALMOND?

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MonsterMash 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The majority of NCSS employees are sick and tired of the shenanigans of these two and please paper people look into the hiring of the counselor at the career academy.

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dennistay53 11 months, 1 week ago

Eddie please stay after class and write on the chalk board 1000 time that you will never again break BOE meeting rules by bringing a motion when one is already on the floor. These teachers are trying to teach our students to follow rules and you come out and break one right out in front of them.

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gsm7476 11 months, 1 week ago

We need a game changer. Unfortunately the 3 candidates were not Game changers they were same old same. Look to stay in the bottom half in education in the state.

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RV30015 11 months, 1 week ago

She is a game changer. We don't need any more change agents. We just got rid of two that never need to change any more games in Newton County. It is extremely embarrassing to have two board members who can produce no valid reason for voting against Mrs. Fuhrey. I hope they stay in the minority 2 votes and the 3 elected board members who make good common sense keep voting in 3's to keep the other 2 totally disempowered.

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gsm7476 11 months, 1 week ago

I also disagree with you none of the Board members has GOOD COMMON Sense.

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gsm7476 11 months, 1 week ago

Sorry we have to disagree. From what I see it’s the leadership without the PHD. Do not get me wrong she is a nice lady, but the 3 they had none of them are game changers.

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gsm7476 11 months, 1 week ago

CHARTHER Schools are the only way to go.

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John 11 months, 1 week ago

I certainly wish Mrs. Furhey all the success in this new position. She seems to have the all the basic credinentals and experiences. Time will tell if this change can turn around this "run-a-way" train called the NCSS & BOE for the betterment of the students. One person cannot produce a sudden "game changing" event. IMO, it will take time and cooperation from the entire Newton County community & elected officals with the focus needs to be on properly educating the students from K to 12 with a whole lot less finger pointing & even more personal accountability, transparency & less building of "monuments" (aka new schools) 'cause it sounds like a good idea - brick & motar has never been proven to provide a better educated student. Getting back to the basics has always been a good & time proven approach when "revamping' is required an "fuzzy math" is no longer used as a sales pitch.. Again GL Mrs. Furhery, You have my support.

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John 11 months, 1 week ago

Should have added the words "for now" to the last senence.

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