Local News

March 27, 2013

New superintendent announces staff shift, end of Schlechty partnership

At least 12 Whitfield County Schools employees have had their job descriptions or titles altered as part of a series of changes that newly appointed Superintendent Judy Gilreath announced Wednesday morning.

Those changes include plans to end the eight-year partnership with the Kentucky-based think tank The Schlechty Center. Schlechty leaders have provided countless hours of required professional development for teachers, administrators and other employees. School officials have said the partnership showed them how to implement better teaching and learning methods, but some community members and school board members over the years have questioned the partnership’s expense and effectiveness.

Gilreath didn’t indicate in the press release that there were any regrets.

“We have been building capacity within our school system for years,” she said. “After talking with our principals, other educational leaders in our district and members of the community, we agree we have built capacity, and it is time to graduate.”

The personnel changes Gilreath announced will take effect by July 1.

“As people begin to learn their new responsibilities, the makeup of the system-level administration will cut the number of staff who report directly to the superintendent from 34 to eight,” the release stated.

Employees with new titles are, by department:

Teaching and Learning

• Assistant Superintendent Karey Williams (from principal at Southeast High School; Assistant Principal Deni Pendley will become principal).

• Elementary School Curriculum Director Merry Boggs (from teaching at Antioch Elementary).

• Middle School Curriculum Director Michelle Caldwell (from assistant principal at Varnell Elementary, no replacement named).

• High School Curriculum Director Tom Appelman (from teacher and math department head at Southeast High School).

Student Services

• Chief Officer Wanda Phillips (former director who reported to Gilreath at that office).

• Student Services Director Chris Parker (from principal at Valley Point Elementary, no replacement named).

Assessment, Accountability and Educational Technology

• Chief Officer Audrey Williams (change in title, realignment of responsibilities of assessment and accountability with addition of leading technology department; has been serving as assistant superintendent of teaching and learning since Dusty Brown retired as well as serving as executive director of assessment and accountability).

• Technology Director Jim Fugate (role has not changed; he now reports to Assessment, Accountability and Tech instead of Student Services).

Human Resources

• Chief Officer Rhonda Yim (change in title, realignment of responsibilities with additional staff reporting to her).

• Professional Development Director Dee Goodwin (formerly a teaching and learning coordinator; has new duties and changed to report to human resources).

• Federal Programs Director Lorijo Calhoun (formerly reporting to teaching and learning; now reporting to human resources).


• Chief Officer Mike Ewton (will lead operations including facilities, transportation and security with focus on safety and security in addition to leading facilities and transportation with assistance from those directors).

• Transportation director (nobody named for this position yet; it is not a new position, duties have been covered by Ewton).

Read Thursday’s Daily Citizen for a full report.

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