Education notebook: 2 charter schools may open in Bibb

The Bibb County school system has received two intent letters to start charter schools in fall 2011. According to a Feb. 26 letter from L. Vernon Allwood, who recently retired as community relations director and special projects at Morehouse School of Medicine, he proposes to start a charter school for 500 elementary students, eventually adding middle school grades.

The letter did not say where it would be housed. Another intent letter was submitted Jan. 28 by an Atlanta attorney and the group Peachtree Hope Inc. expressing a desire to start a charter school for 500 elementary students and also expand. It also did not specify proposed curriculum or where it would be housed.

“We have to have (an official petition to start a Charter) by May 15,” said Cathy Magouyrk, deputy superintendent of teaching and learning. The board would have to review and approve in July the petitions, which must include the potential school’s curriculum, teachers and facilities.

Magouyrk said the board takes such petitions seriously and cannot just deny them. Doing so would require submitting a letter to the state with specific reasoning for the denial.

Two school board chairmen won’t seek re-election

Two Middle Georgia school board chairmen say they will not seek re-election this year.

Jones County school board Chairman James T. Stone said that after 33 years on the board it’s time to step aside. He has been the board’s chairman for 24 years.

“I have a few good years left to spend with my family,” Stone, 73, said. The state of the economy, which has forced school systems to drastically slash their budgets and make tough decisions, “scares me to death for the system but that had nothing to do with it,” he said.

“Age was the factor.”

Twiggs County school board Chairman David Sanders said the pressure from citizens and insiders, as well as the tough economy, has had some role in his decision not to seek re-election.

“Four years is all I intended to serve,” he said. “(The public thinks) you can do anything and don’t realize we are bound by laws and contracts. It’s the quintessential problem all systems face. Board members get pressured from different groups.”

Sanders said he is proud to be a part of the Twiggs school system’s work to get out of debt but regrets that the system’s student population loss was not significantly turned around.

Teacher wildlife workshop sign-up ends May 1st

The Georgia Forestry Foundation will hold its sixth annual teacher conservation workshop, “Exploring Forestry and Wildlife in Georgia”, June 21-25.

The workshop focuses on conservation topics related to the benefits of forestry, including the cycle of growing trees, utilization of trees for products and how trees are managed for wildlife habitat. All field trips, lodging, meals and teacher resource kits are included in the $35 registration fee.

This workshop is recommended for Georgia educators teaching grades 5-12. Registration is limited to 30 participants. Registration ends May 1. To register, visit or contact Carla Rapp at (478) 992-8110 or

Monroe middle school erects 9/11 memorial

Banks Stephens Middle School completed a 9/11 memorial recently thanks to an idea from eighth-grader Darrell Brady.

A serene memorial located in the shadow of the school’s U.S. flag is now in place.

“My mom and I were talking about how having a moment of silence to remember 9/11 is nice, but it just doesn’t seem like enough to remind us of the tragedy and sacrifices made that day,” Brady said in a school news release.

Darrell and her mother approached principal Mike Hickman with the idea and it caught on.

“I thought it was admirable for Darrell to care so deeply and want to organize a project such as this,” Hickman said.

With faculty and student support, Darrell raised money last fall for a memorial bench.

Fort Valley State part of national grant competition

Fort Valley State University is among 62 historically black colleges and universities across Georgia and the nation that are competing for grant funds for Home Depot’s Retool Your School campus improvement program.

Online voting is open at until May 15.

The contest will yield one $50,000 grant recipient, and 10 other schools will receive grants of $10,000.

Commemorative gift cards can also be purchased online in e-card and conventional plastic forms. The store will donate 5 percent of the card’s face value, up to $150,000, toward the grants.

Clark Atlanta University, Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College, Morris Brown College and Spelman College join Fort Valley State among other schools in Georgia participating in the contest.

Mercer names new liberal arts college dean

Mercer University will have a new dean at its College of Liberal Arts in July, according to a news release.

Lake Lambert, who is a professor and administrator at Wartburg College in Iowa, will replace retiring Richard Fallis.

Lambert is a religion professor, the assistant dean for academic planning and the board of regents chair in ethics at the school. In 2009, he published a book, “Spirituality Inc.: Religion in the American Workplace.” His articles and book reviews have appeared in various academic journals, religious publications and newspapers such as USA Today.

He has a doctorate in social ethics from Princeton Theological Seminary, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Emory University.

Houston special-education administrator gets award

A Houston County educator has received distinction by the Georgia Council of Administrators of Special Education, according to a news release.

Zabrina Cannady, the system’s director of special education, was recognized as the Outstanding New Special Education Administrator of the Year by the organization at a March conference in Athens.

Winners of the award are noted for their leadership and involvement, both locally and within the special-education field.

Assistant Superintendent for Student Services Paula Dougherty and Special Education Lead Program Specialist Robin Boutwell nominated Cannady for the award.

Bibb after-school programs director hired

The Bibb County school board has hired Mary Parrish as the new after-school programs director. Parrish is currently a Macon State College instructional technology specialist and was a former Bibb County teacher.

School officials said Parrish will likely start in May. She replaces former director Julie Holloway.

Macon State to host blood drive at WR campus

Macon State College’s Warner Robins campus will host a blood drive April 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Oak Hall, according to a news release.

The event, open to the general public, is being put together by the students in the health communications class, the campus chapter of the Association of Healthcare Executives, the Macon State School of Nursing and Health Sciences and the American Red Cross.

Free food, prizes and activities for students will be available at the blood drive.

For more information about the event, e-mail Chris Tsavatewa at

Compiled by Telegraph staff writers Andrea Castillo and Julie Hubbard.