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Posted: April 30, 2017 5:00 a.m.

Shannon Buff to be Newton High principal


Shannon Buff

COVINGTON, Ga. - Shannon Buff, director of secondary schools, is getting a new job within the Newton County School System (NCSS). Starting July 1 she will become principal for Newton High School. In that role, she will replace John Ellenberg who is resigning at the end of the school year.

The NCSS Board of Education approved Buff’s new appointment at a special called meeting on April 28. The vote for approval was 4 to 1.

Shakila Henderson-Baker, who lives in and represents district 3 where Newton High School is located and who herself is a graduate of Porterdale Elementary, Cousins Middle and Newton High schools, cast the dissenting vote.

“I always made it an important fact for the kids in that school to see someone who has come from the community that they come from doing good in the community,” Henderson-Baker said. “I think it is important that they see someone that looks like them doing good things; someone that comes from the neighborhood doing good things.”

She added that she has never based a vote on friendship or race, considering instead the qualifications of candidates relative to the culture, climate, and needs of the school and community as expressed by parents and constituents.

According to the NCSS website, Buff attended the University of Georgia, Georgia College & State University and Walden University studying social science education and educational leadership. She holds a bachelor’s degree in social science, a master’s degree, and an education specialist degree in educational leadership. 

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newsjunkie65: May 5, 2017 6:50 p.m.

Shakila - Thank you. My faith has been restored. We all need to be held accountable. You have an impressive resume. Keep up the good work!

Now lets have a talk with these news people.......LOL!

hendersonbaker: May 5, 2017 1:50 p.m.

Newsjunkie65 - I appreciate your response. Just to provide you some reassurance I voted for John Ellenberg when he got the principal position at Newton and was super excited about him, he is the current and soon to be former principal there and he looks nothing like me and does not come from that community (**insert smile :-) - I actually can name a lot more situations like that which is why I said my public voting record can prove it's not about race). The other paper quoted just that community part, so I think it was just situation of looking for something to get people worked up by allowing them to interpret it how they want. I'm thankful that the Covington News did at least provide a little more, so had I not explained it to you I can see how you would have interpreted the way you did. I gave a long statement, but I said specifically that because I go a lot of schools listed in the article and get invited to schools all the time and someone had an issue with the fact that I was in the schools and knew a lot of information in terms of a comparison of skill set. I was simply making the point that I go to those schools because those kids need to see someone in the community that came from those communities willing to advocate and show that they are doing good things. A lot of people in the community members specifically in that district reached out to me and a lot of current parents did too when Mr. Ellenberg originally said he was not returning to our school system. This will be the 5th principal in an 8 year time frame and in situations like that the people that hurt the most are the kids, not the candidates..... so I hope that can provide some extra understanding why I was cautious in this decision. You sound like someone who is concerned about the community and I appreciate that. I share the same concern and an even greater concern when it comes to making decisions that will be impactful for students because I was once a student of Newton County Schools! The unfortunate thing is that everybody does not take well to hearing the word "no" or "I oppose" and some people will instantly say it's about race, or it's because of friendship, and I was making the point that my no is not based on any of that. I actually said Robert's Rules of Order and Parliamentary procedure allows us to be able to say yes, no, or abstain and as leaders we have to be willing to speak up when we feel different from everyone else. Let me also say that with parliamentary procedure once the vote is made and decision is posted you move on and give support to what the majority decided. I did just that and as a leader I spoke with the incoming principal on Monday at my request and explained my no was not personal. I will support her, but at the same time as with anyone else I will hold her accountable because it's about the kids. It was a pleasure responding to you!

newsjunkie65: May 3, 2017 6:45 p.m.

Shakila - I appreciate your clarification and I take to heart your explanation. I would like to start by saying that I don't know you or Ms Buff and that I respect your vote. However, the reason for your decision is another matter. I rarely comment on articles, but after reading this one, I was stunned by what I had just read. Stunned to the point that I had others read it to make sure that I was comprehending your statements correctly. Based on your explanation, the article must be poorly written and therefore easily misconstrued. Your "comment" appears to be the reason why you cast your dissenting vote?? By the way, I'm not originally from this county and therefore don't fit into your assumed stereotype. The only thing that my comment has proved is that I have perceived an injustice and did not take it lying down. Would you? I hope I am wrong and that this has all been a misunderstanding.

hendersonbaker: May 3, 2017 10:36 a.m.

newsjunkie65 that comment saying it is important for the kids to see someone that comes from the community or someone that looks like them was about me! I said that I grew up and came from those schools and that community, the paragraph before that comment clearly says what schools I attended. That is why it's always been important for the kids to see someone who has come from those schools doing good things. The good things meaning I have never voted on race or friendship and actually the next paragraph goes on to say that. It clearly says I have never based my vote on friendship or race! My past public voting record actually proves that I never have voted on people because they were of a certain race! However, the fact that I'm from here and know the history of the county and unfortunately the way some people think, I knew that casting a dissenting vote someone would make that accusation. Your comment unfortunately proved just that, which is why I thoroughly explained it in the manner that I did to be clear that it was not at all based on those things.

newsjunkie65: May 1, 2017 5:38 p.m.

Henderson-Baker said. “I think it is important that they see someone that looks like them."...... In other words, Shakila Henderson-Baker did not vote for Shannon Buff because she is white?? This is blatant racism! Really?? If the shoe were on the other foot, we the people would be asking for her immediate resignation! What gives?? How is this okay??

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