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Nikkita Warfield to be NCSS director for secondary education

COVINGTON, Ga. - Nikkita Warfield, current principal at Porterdale Elementary School, will become the Newton County School System’s (NCSS’s) Director of Secondary Schools in July. In that position, she will replace Shannon Buff who will be the new principal at Newton High School. The NCSS Board of Education (BOE) officially appointed Warfield at its May 16 meeting.

According to Samantha Fuhrey, NCSS superintendent, Warfield holds a bachelor of science in middle grade education from Fort Valley State University and a masters and specialist in educational instruction from Central Michigan University. In July she anticipates graduating with a doctorate from Walden University.

Her experience includes being a middle school English teacher, team leader, project coordinator, department chair, college and career readiness coordinator, high school instructional coach and high school assistant principal.

“I am confident that Mrs. Warfield’s experiences in all three areas—elementary, middle, and high school—have prepared her to expand on the current successes of our secondary education program,” Fuhrey said. “Her knowledge and expertise will enable our secondary program to reach even greater heights.”

Federal funding

The BOE also heard a presentation by Shelia Thomas, director of federal programs, on Georgia’s Systems of Continuous Improvement. The Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) recently sent this new planning framework to Georgia’s school districts. Each district must complete a planning process using this new framework and submit a continuous improvement plan to the GADOE in July. A state approved plan is required before a district can receive federal funds for certain programs.

According to Erica Robinson, executive financial manager, the NCSS has been receiving about $12 million per year from the federal government for support of those programs. The programs include:  IDEA Special Education; Title I, Part A, Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged; Title I, Part A, Parent Engagement Program; Title II, Part A, Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High-Quality Teachers, Principals, and Other School Leaders; Title III, Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students; and Title IV, Part B, 21st Century Community Learning Centers.

According to Thomas, the NCSS has been required to submit improvement plans in past years; the new framework consolidates several different planning process and several different plans into one process and plan. She sees the new framework as a good thing; though in this its first year, districts have not been given much time to complete the process and write their plans. However, Thomas and Fuhrey say the NCSS will get the job done. The process will result in a NCSS-wide plan followed by the development of individual continuous improvement plans for each school.

Other action

The BOE received a $1,000 cash gift from the Newton Education Foundation (NEF) to support the robotics program at Liberty Middle School. Jason Lee, an engineer at Shire Plc as well as an NEF board member, made the presentation. “As an engineer, I appreciate the need for technically sound individuals who can analyze and think critically,” Lee said. “It is these individuals who drive and lead an organization to success.”

He added, “The robotics programs in Newton County have produced teams that have gone to state and national competitions. I have seen and judged these teams. I am very impressed by the talent, growth, knowledge, and opportunity these competitions give to challenge students to think and act analytically using sound design and scientific methods.”

The BOE recognized NCSS seventh grade students who have earned distinction within the Duke University Talent Identification Program.

It also approved the following: revisions to two BOE policies; contracts with individuals to provide physical therapy and occupational therapy services to students with disabilities; contracts with providers for speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision, and deaf/hard of hearing services for students with disabilities; a service agreement with Medical Provider Services for Medicaid billing and administrative services; renewable contracts with Howard Technology Solutions, Inc., for the purchase of interactive projectors and with Dell Marketing, L.P., for Microsoft licenses; purchase of materials and services from Infinity Network Solutions for upgrading communication technology infrastructure at the NCSS administrative offices and service center; renewal of five different contracts for the purchase of uniforms, kitchen equipment, produce and eggs, bread and associated items, and ice cream by the School Nutrition Program; purchase of a service truck from Ginn Motor Company; disposal of surplus equipment; and a request by Restoration Life Ministries to rent classrooms at Liberty Middle School for worship services.

Finally the BOE acted to approve three rescinded resignations and three new hires for the current school year as well as two retirements, 23 resignations, and the transfer of two employees. It also approved the hiring of 31 new teachers, two paraprofessionals, and seven transfers for the 2017-2018 school year.