State schools superintendent Cox spends day in Middle Georgia

Kathy Cox, the state superintendent of schools, spent Thursday in Middle Georgia, teaching a class and visiting schools in Macon and Jeffersonville.

She donned a hard hat while she toured the new Central High School, now under construction on Napier Avenue in Macon.

The schools chief said she was impressed with the new 202,000-square-foot facility’s broadcast room for journalism, eight state-of-the-art science labs and the sloped-ceiling classrooms designed to gather more natural light.

“Oh, it’s very nice,” Cox said, later telling students, “You’ll probably have one of the prettiest high schools in the state.”

The $38.6-million high school, paid with funds from a countywide penny sales tax, will open its new gym this spring. The rest of the building will be ready when school opens in August after the summer break.

A school with new technology, safety features and one that accommodates students’ different learning styles makes a “huge difference” on student achievement, Cox said during the tour.

“If you don’t have the right physical plant, it hinders learning,” she said.

“It’s so exciting,” Central High principal Erin Weaver said. “I wanted her to see the good things the kids do and what wonderful opportunities they have.”

Cox has toured about 100 schools per year since 2003 as part of her job requirement. Early Thursday, she toured Jefferson Elementary in Twiggs County.

While at Central, she taught an Advanced Placement U.S. Government and Politics class. Cox also was able to take in a dinner Thursday night with the Middle Georgia Phi Beta Kappa Alumni Association. Cox was a Phi Beta Kappa member at Emory University.