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Woodard tabbed Morgan superintendent
James Woodard - photo by Submitted / The Covington News

A pillar in the Newton College and Career Academy was named as the only candidate for Morgan County Schools Superintendent Thursday.

The Morgan County Board of Education must sit on James Woodard’s candidacy for 14 days before voting, according to Sherri Davis-Viniard, Newton County School System (NCSS) director of public relations.

Woodard is currently both the director of the Career, Technical and Agricultural Education program and the CEO/principal of the Newton College and Career Academy (NCCA). He said he applied for the superintendent position after it opened up a couple months ago, following the retirement of Ralph Bennett.

“We’re very excited,” said Woodard, who already lives in Morgan County. “I’m moving into a school system that has good results already. Morgan County has a really good balance of agriculture and industry and culture, recreation. They’re a good small school system for me to start as a superintendent.”

The school system, which is a charter system, is looking for ways to engage more kids and their education, focusing on career pathways, which is what Woodard has already done at the NCCA, he said. He added the fact that his experience at the NCCA, including working with a board of directors educating to build a professional career, was “something they wanted to see.”

Before becoming the NCCA’s first CEO in 2011, he held positions of state director at the CTAE for the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) from 2005-08, state director of Agricultural Education for the GADOE from 2000-2005 and regional coordinator for South Region Agricultural Education for GADOE from 1998-99. He has also been a horticulture area teacher for the GADOE and an agriculture education teacher and young farmer teacher at Jeff Davis High School in Jeff Davis County.

Woodard has an associate degree in agriculture from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Georgia, a master’s degree in education from UGA, a specialist in education degree from UGA and an EdD in education leadership and administration from UGA.

“One of the things I really believe in is that all careers in the future are going to need some form of secondary education. That can be anywhere from military training to industry-sponsored training, a community college, technical college or a four-year degree.”

An educator’s role is to help make the transition into life-long learning, Woodard said, and that starts with a high school diploma.

“Mr. Woodard is an exemplary employee and administrator for the Newton County School System,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “He is well respected by students, parents, staff and colleagues. When budgetary concerns forced the school system to combine the positions of director of CTAE and CEO of the Newton College and Career Academy into one position, he was up to the task and has done a magnificent job. Mr. Woodard is more than capable of stepping into the superintendent’s position for the Morgan County School System. I am disappointed that he will be leaving the Newton County School System, but I wish him well as he continues his work in Morgan County.”

According to Fuhrey, the two positions Woodard held will be split back into two positions.