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School Superintendent speaks to Celebrating Women group
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Lee Aldridge believes new Superintendent Dr. Gary Mathews has some really great ideas about how to improve the Newton County School System — she would know.

Mathews spoke to dozens of women at the Oaks Golf Course Thursday evening, as part of the second Celebrating Women event held this year. The female leaders hold events to collectively learn more about their community, discuss possible partnerships among their organizations and expand their personal networks.

Aldridge is one of Newton County’s most prominent former educators, having spent 37 years as a science teacher in Newton County High School. She has a direct interest in the success of the NCSS.

"It’s obvious he’s put deep thought into his plans. We need that. No matter how hard we work, we seem to not be able to make progress," Aldridge said after Mathews' speech. "I liked the fact he emphasized this wouldn’t be an overnight fix. It may take a few years, but if we can improve things a little bit every year we’ll get there."

In his slideshow presentation, Mathews referenced the ideas of a variety of education experts with a focus on setting goals for teachers and students and working to achieve those goals. He also spoke about the role of leadership in forming those goals and giving teachers the tools to meet them.

To see his presentation, visit, click on "Departments", then click on "About the Superintendent" and click on the "New Beginnings Power Point to NCSS Leadership", located toward the bottom of the page.

Kye Haymore, an attorney and instructor at DeKalb Technical College, said Mathews' presentation was inspiring and he touched on many of the things Haymore and her husband, who is an administrator at Alcovy High School, talk about at home.

"He spoke about building background knowledge; children need that," Haymore said. "He said he’s going to be very hands-on, not only at the central office but out in the classrooms as well, listening to teachers. We’re excited that’s he come to our town."

Gussie Baker, a court appointed special advocate, isn’t involved directly in the school system, but she is a tutor at Washington Street Community Center and sometimes sees the basic skills that her tutees are missing.

"He talked about the similarities in education; there are certain things that all kids should know. If we teach, we need to make sure kids are learning certain things no matter what level they’re at," Baker said.

Mathews said he would try to get around to as many schools as possible Friday, the first day of the 2010-2011 school year. In the presentation, he said his immediate goals are to implement a "Look Listen Learn" tour of the district and community; to get to know students, staff, the Board of Education and the community; and to find opportunities to enhance student’s learning and lives.