Local News

June 25, 2014

Whitfield board extends superintendent’s contract

When the Whitfield County Board of Education named Judy Gilreath superintendent last year, it broke with recent precedent by giving her only a one-year contract.

Gilreath says she was happy with the decision.

“The board and I agreed that one year was the best, so that we could see if it was working out well for both sides,” she said.

On Tuesday, the board showed it thinks things are working out well by unanimously extending Gilreath’s contract for three more years.

“I’m very pleased. We have a lot of things that we want to do, not just me but the entire leadership, and this allows us to move forward with some long-range plans,” Gilreath said.

Her salary will remain $140,000 a year. She also has a $600-a-month stipend to defray travel costs.

“We had a chance to see Judy operate, and she had a chance to work with us,” said board Chairman Louis Fordham. “I think everyone was happy with the way things had gone and wanted her to take the system forward.”

Gilreath said one of her first goals will be developing a new long-range, strategic plan for the school system.

“Starting in the fall, we are going to sit down with community members, our leadership, other stakeholders and try to get a consensus on our goals and develop a plan for reaching them,” Gilreath said.

Some of Gilreath’s other goals include establishing a common grading policy for the system, implementing new district and school websites, and restoring more furlough days.

Board members added one more instructional day to the school year when they approved the fiscal year 2015 budget on Wednesday, bringing it to 176 days, and one staff professional day, bringing those to six.

In 2011, the school board cut five instruction days from the 180-day student calendar and five of 10 professional days to stave off a financial crisis when local and state funding tightened during the economic recession. The two days approved Wednesday are the first restored days since those cuts.

Gilreath joined the school system in 2001 and has served in several roles, including as principal of Pleasant Grove Elementary School and as assistant superintendent for student support.

Former superintendent Danny Hayes retired from the school system on March 31 after almost four years as superintendent.

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