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Baker named to new RCPS Chief of Staff position; Chesser named Chief Academic Officer
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IN BRIEF: The Rockdale County school board unanimously approved several cabinet-level appointments Thursday night, including Gene Baker, the current Assistant Superintendent, as the newly created Chief of Staff, current Director of Professional Learning Shirley Chesser as the new Chief Academic Officer, and a Macon principal as Assistant Superintendent.

In the new Chief of Staff position, Baker would oversee projects funded by the most recent education penny sales tax, called the E-SPLOST IV, as well as maintain some role in supervising principals. The position would be funded partly by E-SPLOST and partly by discretionary funds the school system is allotted from cell phone and internet fees. Superintendent Richard Autry said Baker would receive the same salary he is receiving as Assistant Superintendent - about $115,616 annually. The Chief of Staff position is a new one. Previously there was no one position to oversee E-SPLOST projects, most of which were building or construction related. The E-SPLOST IV project list includes many technology components, an area that Baker has been working in as the school system expands its bandwidth and IT infrastructure. Superintendent Richard Autry pointed out the new position would not affect the general budget since it is being funded out of E-SPLOST and cell phone fees.

Shirley Chesser is currently the director of Professional Learning, the department which recently oversaw the successful reaccreditation from the AdvancedED organization. Chesser will be taking the Chief Academic Officer role being vacated by Leslie DeMarco. DeMarco is retiring after two years in the role and working previously as RCPS Director of Curriculum and Instruction before that. Chesser was formerly principal at Honey Creek Elementary School and Peeks Chapel Elementary; before that she was a facilitator (2003-2005) and teacher (2001-2003) at Shoal Creek Elementary.

Terrence Martin is currently the principal at Porter Elementary School in Macon. He was previously an interim Assistant Superintendent in Bibb County Public Schools and in Des Moines, Iowa.

The positions were unanimously approved 5-0 (board member Sharon Pharr was not present).

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