James Woodard tapped as superintendent in Morgan County

James Woodard

James Woodard

COVINGTON — James Woodard, chief executive officer of Newton’s College and Career Academy and director of the Career, Technical and Agriculture Education program, has been named as the sole candidate for the superintendent position in Morgan County Schools.

The Morgan County Board of Education made the announcement on Thursday. The board must wait 14 days before voting on the appointment.

“We are very excited about having Mr. Woodard join our school system here and look forward to his leadership,” said Nelson Hale, chairman of the Morgan Board of Education. “We were impressed with his leadership record from both resume and interview, and feel like he is going to be a very good fit here.”

Woodard, who lives in Morgan County with his wife, Janet, and two children, said he is excited about the new challenge.

“This gives me the opportunity to expand my leadership skills and work on a different skill set,” said Woodard. “It’s very much similar to what I’m doing now, but on a different level.”

Newton County Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey praised Woodard’s accomplishments in the school system.

“Mr. Woodard is an exemplary employee and administrator for the Newton County School System,” said Fuhrey. “He is well respected by students, parents, staff and colleagues. When budgetary concerns forced the school system to combine the positions of director of CTAE and CEO of the Newton College and Career Academy into one position, he was up to the task and has done a magnificent job. Mr. Woodard is more than capable of stepping into the superintendent’s position for the Morgan County School System. I am disappointed that he will be leaving the Newton County School System, but I wish him well as he continues his work in Morgan County.”

Woodard was the first CEO of Newton’s Career Academy, which opened in 2011.

On a personal level, Woodard said the appointment gives him the opportunity to live and work in the same community, something he has not done for a number of years. It also gives him the chance to work in the same community as his wife, who is the 4-H agent in Morgan County.

Although Morgan County does not have a career academy, Woodard said he looks forward to the opportunities for career education.

“I’m excited about the industry that is locating in this area and feel like Morgan County has a role to play in creating that workforce development,” Woodard said.

Hale said Woodard’s hiring was a calculated moved to expand career and technical education in Morgan County.

“That’s an area where we want to put greater emphasis and felt certain that he is the ideal candidate to help us do that,” said Hale.

Woodard said his starting date in Morgan County has not been finalized, but he expects to continue in Newton County until late August.

Woodard will fill a vacancy created with the retirement of former Morgan Superintendent Dr. Ralph Bennett. Hale said Bennett had been a teacher and administrator in Morgan County for more than three decades. He retired due to health reasons.

“We welcome the change that we are going to have with Mr. Woodard and do look forward to that,” said Hale. “We wish Dr. Bennett well; he certainly earned his retirement after 34 years.”

In addition to serving as CEO of the Newton College and Career Academy, Woodard was state director of Career, Technical, Agricultural Education for the Georgia Department of Education, state director of Agricultural Education, regional coordinator for South Regional Agricultural Education for the state, and a teacher of agriculture and horticulture. He holds a bachelor’s degree in science in agricultural education from the University of Georgia, a master’s degree in education from UGA, and a specialist degree in education from UGA. He is pursuing a doctorate in education leadership and administration from UGA.