Newton County’s newest elementary school officially has a name - Live Oak Elementary School. The Newton County Board of Education approved Jan. 20 the measure to name elementary school No. 14, which is located on Kirkland Road.
Board members selected the name from a list of suggestions from community and school board members. Suggested names included Arbor Crossing, Crossroads, Jake Neely, Deerwood, Diversify, Pinelands, Star, Shoal Creek, Valley, and Windy Hill elementary. The winning name was a suggestion of board chairperson C.C. Bates.
The board voted 4 to 1 to name the school Live Oak in honor of the state tree. Board newcomer Eddie Johnson cast the dissenting vote. The evergreen, which was named the state tree in 1937, grows along the coastal plains and on Georgia’s islands where the first settlers in the state lived, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Web site.
The naming of the elementary school came under fire at the board’s Jan. 13 work session meeting after several names were struck from the list presented to the board in December because they violated the board’s naming policy.
The policy states naming the school after an individual, living or deceased, may be considered if the person or the person’s family donated the land or money to build a facility. The struck names included Barak Obama, Carroll O’Connor, and Martin Luther King Jr. While the board discussed amending the policy to exclude historic figures, members moved forward on choosing a name for the new elementary school.
Live Oak Elementary School is set to open in September. Students currently zoned for Fairview Elementary School will be rezoned to attend Live Oak Elementary. Fairview Elementary will house the new elementary theme school, which is also set to open this fall.
Board elects Bates chair, Dobbs vice-chair
Newton County Board of Election members unanimously elected C.C. Bates board chair and Cathy Dobbs vice-chairperson. Bates and Dobbs will hold the positions for one year.
As chairperson, Bates will preside over all meetings and oversee the operation of the board, including making sure all members are informed of important district issues, appointing committee members, and planning the board’s agenda with Superintendent Steven Whatley.
Dobbs will preside over the meetings the chairperson’s temporary absence.
Theme school principal
The board also named Dr. Ruth Anne Smith as principal of the elementary parental involvement theme school, which will be located at Fairview Elementary.