May 17, 2007

Bibb School Board to Vote on New Principals

By Julie Hubbard, The Macon Telegraph, Ga.

May 17--Students at nine Bibb County schools will have new principals when the school year begins in August.

There will be new leaders at six elementary schools, one high school and two speciality schools. Most of the vacancies are due to principals retiring, said Sylvia McGee, Bibb's deputy superintendent.

"We had done a study of our principalship ranks about five years ago," she said. "So we knew to anticipate a number of retirements."

It's a national trend, McGee said, and one that has prompted the system to recruit leaders from outside the system and send more teachers and assistant principals to leadership development training to groom them for principal jobs.

"We think we have good (replacements) and will continue leadership development as they continue their new roles," she said.

Elementary school principals retiring at the end of this school year are: Alexander II Magnet School principal Penny Smith, Ingram-Pye principal William Turner and Bernd principal Carol Bloodworth.

Mimi Gudenrath at Elam Alexander Academy and Cindy Gibson, principal at the Renaissance Academy and Teen Parent Center, also are retiring.

Linda Bivens, the principal of Burdell-Hunt Elementary in the Fort Hill neighborhood, was recommended last Thursday by Superintendent Sharon Patterson to serve as the new principal at Alexander II Magnet for the fall.

Patterson made administrative appointment recommendations to the school board, and board members are expected to vote on the recommendations at a meeting tonight.

"It's such an honor," Bivens said. "I really do love where I am now, but at the same time this gives me an opportunity to learn and grow professionally."

Bivens has been with the system since 1974, working as a teacher and counselor before moving to Burdell-Hunt in March 2004. If the board approves, she will start her new job in July.

Tanya Goolsby, an assistant principal at Rutland Middle, has been recommended to replace Bivins as principal at Burdell-Hunt.

McGee said other recommendations for the fall include:

--Naming LaQuandra Brown, an assistant principal in DeKalb County, as principal at King-Danforth. Current principal Betty Hill is being reassigned.

--Baheejah Hasan, principal at Burke Elementary, will transfer to Ingram-Pye to replace Turner.

--Emanual Frazier, assistant principal at Howard Middle, is being recommended as principal at Burke.

--Lara Holder, assistant principal at Heritage, is recommended as principal at Bernd.

--Lara Sims, a treatment coordinator at Elam Alexander, is recommended as Elam Alexander's principal.

The superintendent is also recommending changing the interim principal status for Amy Duke at Springdale and Robert Stevenson at Appling Middle to permanent principals.

McGee said a replacement for Rutland High School principal Jim Finch, who is taking a job at Mary Persons High School in Monroe County this coming school year, and a replacement for Gibson at Renaissance Academy have not been named yet.

Finch, who was a first-year principal at Rutland High and led the school to significant gains on the Georgia High School Graduation Tests this year, said he'll miss the Rutland community.

"I've been served well here," Finch said. "I felt it was an opportunity I couldn't close the door on."

To contact Julie Hubbard, call 744-4331.


Copyright (c) 2007, The Macon Telegraph, Ga.

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