A group of Newton County parents, teachers and residents converged on the monthly work session of the board of education Tuesday in order to offer their support, and a list of signatures, to the board in favor of promoting Samantha Fuhrey, current deputy superintendent for curriculum and instruction, to the position of superintendent.
Lynn House, an instructional coach with the Newton County School System (NCSS), addressed the board with a prepared letter and a list of signatures, many of them from NCSS employees.
"As educators and parents of Newton County students and otherwise concerned citizens of the district, we feel strongly about what is in the best interest of our students/children," House read. "It is our belief that the appointment/election of Mrs. Samantha Fuhrey as superintendent would best serve our students, us and our community... We are requesting your support in the provision of continued growth for our students by way of placing Mrs. Samantha Fuhrey at the helm of this proverbial ship."
Fuhrey was promoted from executive director of secondary education to her current position when Ken Proctor announced his plans to leave the NCSS and move to the Atlanta Public School System in March. That promotion wasn't without discussion though. Superintedent Gary Mathews recommended the promotion, and three board members voted in favor, while two others (Almond Turner and Eddie Johnson) opposed the motion.
With 20 years of experience in education, Fuhrey meets the requirements - which were approved by the board Tuesday - for a new superintendent. She holds a specialist degree and has been both an assistant principal and principal (at Indian Creek Middle School). She also worked as a classroom teacher, specializing in language arts and reading at the middle school level.
Although Fuhrey was aware of what she called a "grass-roots effort to offer support for my potential candidacy late Monday" she was not aware that there would be people at the meeting asking the board to consider her.
"I am greatly honored and humbled by the efforts of those who expressed their support during the public participation portion of the board meeting," Fuhrey said in a Wednesday email. "I intend to apply as I believe it is very important to sustain the academic progress we have experienced over the last several years. While we have demonstrated improvement relative to our required state assessment results, there is additional work to be done to improve our students' college readiness outcomes. It is incumbent upon us to do so to ensure we prepare our students for future success beyond our high school environment."
Each board member was provided with copies of the letter and the signatures attached to it. They did not respond during the letter during the meeting.