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Board of Education recognizes exemplary teachers
Board Photo 11-14

NEWTON COUNTY – A total of 23 teachers across the Newton County School System were publicly recognized Tuesday at the latest Newton County Board of Education meeting for receiving the teacher of the year award.

Each teacher received a certificate from board chair Shakila Henderson-Baker as well as a monetary stipend for their achievement.

“Thank you guys for everything you do, as the quote or the saying goes: ‘teachers make every profession possible,’” Henderson-Baker said. “We greatly appreciate you every single day that you serve our children in the school system.”

District-wide teacher of the year Dr. Cecily Gunter of Newton College and Career Academy was given a $2,000 stipend for her large accomplishment.

The two runners up for district-wide teacher of the year, Kimberly Ralston of Livingston Elementary and Jenica Brittingham of Alcovy High School were each given a $1,500 stipend from the board.

The remaining teachers of the year were given a $1,000 stipend from the board. They are as follows.

  • East Newton Elementary Daphne Ridling

  • Fairview Elementary Lisa Hall

  • Flint Hill Elementary Elaine Owensby

  • Heard-Mixon Elementary Tiffany Young

  • Live Oak Elementary Jasmine Howard

  • Mansfield Elementary Jennifer Allen

  • Middle Ridge Elementary Michelle Brown

  • Newton County STEAM Academy Calesta Mueller

  • Oak Hill Elementary Laura Faith

  • Porterdale Elementary Amber Goss

  • Rocky Plains Elementary Richelle Oliver

  • South Salem Elementary Alisa Eller

  • West Newton Elementary Leslie Pate

  • Clements Middle Yvonne Hill Davenport

  • Cousins Middle Shakhana Fulton

  • Indian Creek Middle Russell Parker

  • Liberty Middle Sherise Rollins

  • Veterans Memorial Middle Martin Mensah

  • Eastside High Heather Mathews

  • Newton High Alethea Chapman

Superintendent Dr. Duke Bradley III offered his thoughts on the exemplary teachers. 

“I want to express my heartfelt congratulations to each of our exceptional teachers of the year,” Bradley said. “Your dedication is a shining example during this American education week, highlighting the crucial role educators play in shaping our community’s future. Thank you for your commitment to excellence.”

Following the public recognition, the board then went over the superintendent’s report which featured three key sections.

The first section, the financial report, was read by chief operating officer Dr. Michael Barr. 

Barr stated that the SPLOST distribution for last month was just over $1.8 million, an increase of just over $86,000 from the previous month. The title ad valorem collection for last month was $534,207. Expenditures are also within budget at 30.55 percent expended with 33.3 percent of the year complete.

During the strategic report, Benjamin Roundtree then took the floor to give recognition to the bands in NCSS for hosting the inaugural marching band exhibition at Sharp Stadium. Other highlights from the strategic report included the training of teachers for digital programs, a recognition of the NCSS public relations department for award winning digital media content from the Georgia school public relations association and a recognition of the NCSS health services team for completing the district’s immunizations report for the immunization audits.

Roundtree also gave the enrollment report, stating that as of Nov. 1 NCSS’ total enrollment number was at 18,916 children.

A number of other items were also presented before the board, including the purchase of plagiarism prevention software. This software is configured to specifically prevent plagiarism from online resources, including that of artificial intelligence (AI).

Board member Trey Bailey jokingly stated that AI may not be a fan of this.

“When I looked up this item on artificial intelligence online, it [artificial intelligence] told me that we should not approve it,” said Bailey facetiously.

But despite what artificial intelligence may say, the motion to purchase the plagiarism prevention purchase was made by Bailey and approved unanimously.

Also approved unanimously were:

  • The 2024 legislative priorities.

  • The purchase of instructional resources. 

  • The purchase of laptop computers.

  • The purchase of media center/digital media center resources.

  • A renewal of contract for erate consultant.

  • An action relative to surplus property.

  • An action to approve recommendations made by the Superintendent in executive session.

The board also recognized Napoleon Jackson who is retiring from NCCS after 25 years of service.

“Do I get a check like the teachers?” Jackson asked jokingly. “It’s truly been a pleasure working for the NCCS for the past 25 years and it does my heart wonders just to work with the children everyday.”

The next BOE work session will take place on Dec. 12 with the next regular monthly meeting taking place on Dec. 19.