Education Notebook: Macon State announces search committee to look for Bell replacement

A team of representatives affiliated with Macon State College and the University System of Georgia Board of Regents has been charged with the task of selecting the next president of the college following the departure of current President David A. Bell in June.

To begin the process, an 11-member Presidential Search and Screen Committee will conduct a nationwide search and interview candidates on campus.

The members of that committee are Barry Monk, search committee chairman and chairman of the Department of Math and Computer Science; Ann Levett, executive director of the Educational Technology Center at Macon State; Debra Matthews, chair of the English department; Varkey Titus, dean of business; Nancy Stroud, vice president for fiscal affairs; Dee Minter, associate vice president for enrollment management; Pella Murphy, director, Warner Robins campus; Dwight Jones, chairman, Macon State College Foundation; David Lanier, MSC Foundation board member; Judge Ed Lukemire, alumni representative; and Greg Padgett, president of the Student Government Association.

The committee will likely have its part of the process completed by April, in hopes that a new president will be selected by the start of the new academic year in August, Monk said.

The committee will seek feedback from the community, as well as faculty and staff in the process.

“We certainly look for someone who can take the college to the next level,” Monk said.

From there, that committee will forward the names of up to five candidates to the Special Regents’ Search Committee, made up of Regents Mansfield Jennings, Bob Hatcher, Ken Bernard, Larry Walker and Willis Potts, as well as Chancellor Erroll Davis Jr. Eventually, that team will recommend finalists to Davis, who will make his recommendation to the entire Board of Regents.

Houston BOE recognizes outgoing board member Clements

Outgoing Houston County Board of Education member Griff Clements was recognized for his eight years of service on the board at a meeting Tuesday.

At the meeting, Clements received accolades from board members and Superintendent Robin Hines, as well as a plaque.

Clements, who joined the school board in January 2003, said he decided to run because he didn’t like the way facilities and construction projects were being handled in the district. At the time, Clements said his wife told him the only way to change that was to run for office.

“It’s been a pleasure for eight years. It’s been a different atmosphere than what I came into,” he said.

“The board I’m sitting with now, I can’t ask for finer people and a better board.”

Houston director of facilities retires

Dave McMahan, Houston County school system director of facilities, retired Thursday after three decades in the school system.

Before a ceremony Thursday afternoon at Warner Robins High School, McMahan made handprints in wet concrete at the system’s maintenance office, a tradition among longtime employees there.

McMahan has worked in Houston County schools for 29 years and has accumulated one year of sick leave, for a total of 30 years, he said.

McMahan said overseeing the construction of eight new schools in the district and seeing the total square footage of Houston County schools double from 2 million to 4 million square feet were some of the highlights during his nine-year stint as director of facilities.

Jason Daniel will take over as the next director of facilities, after the school board approved the new hire Tuesday.

Peach schools make plans for family resource center

The Peach County school system will move forward with a plan for a family resource center that aims to give parents access to computers, software and resources to help their children with schoolwork.

The district will house the family resource center at Peach County’s central office building in the former cafeteria of the Crossroads Center, following action from the board at a meeting Tuesday.

The facility already has the capacity for computer and wireless access, and the district has desktops and laptops on hand.

Operating hours for the family resource center have not been set yet, but ideally, it will be open to parents in the evenings, said Denise Carmichael with Peach County schools.

With the resource center, school officials hope to provide parents an opportunity to gain basic computer skills, access student grades and assignments and be able to use software students are using in the classroom. There are also plans to host other parent activities at the center.

The system will move two instructional technology specialists to staff the center and work with parents. The instructional specialists will also work with teachers for one-on-one training. Their salaries, as well as additional tables and chairs, will be funded through Title I money.

The family resource center is an effort by the district to increase parental involvement, complemented by the efforts of systemwide parent/community liaison Sara Mason and a team of parent coordinators at each of Peach County’s schools, Carmichael said.

Bruce students donate Christmas baskets

Bruce Elementary’s student council has donated eight Christmas baskets for local families in need.

The baskets had items to make a holiday meal, including mashed potatoes, cake mix, dressing, cornbread and nuts, as well as a $15 voucher from local grocery stores to purchase a choice of meat, said Audrey Quichocho, a teacher at Bruce who advises the student council.

Students collected donations from teachers and family members for the project, and local businesses such as Harveys Supermarket also donated items, she said.

“Because it was so difficult with the economy the way it is, we wanted to make a difference and support the community by giving back,” Quichocho said.

Compiled by Telegraph staff writer Andrea Castillo.