Polk County Schools Superintendent Laurie Atkins took time to give thanks to the board of education during their regular meeting last week.
As part of the Georgia School Boards Association observance of School Board Appreciation week, Atkins spoke about the leadership the board has shown during the COVID-19 pandemic and the role it has played in helping her and the school district during her time as superintendent.
“I have said many times that there is no way that we could have come through this pandemic on the positive upside without these seven members,” Atkins said. “We appreciate the support that you’ve always provided us, you continue to provide us, allowing us to do what we feel is best for our students and for our teachers.”
Each member of the board was recognized by Atkins, who noted how long each had been on the school board. The longest-tenured member is Tommy Sanders, who is in his 30th year on the board.
Bernard Morgan is in his seventh year on the board, while Chairman J.P. Foster and Kristy Gober each are in their fifth year. Chris Culver is in his fourth year, while Vice Chair Vicki Mayes and Britt Madden both are in their third year.
Atkins is set to retire at the end of May with assistant superintendent and current Polk County College and Career Academy CEO Dr. Katie Thomas already approved to succeed her as superintendent.
Finding Thomas’ successor in her role as head of the college and career academy took another step during the meeting last Tuesday as the board took a combined vote on personnel items which included the approval of Gary Morris as the school’s next CEO.
Morris has served for more than three years as the director and principal of the Douglas County College and Career Institute. Prior to that he was assistant principal at Chapel Hill High School and director of the CTAE program at Haralson County High School.
Morris is expected to begin his new job starting April 1.
The school board also approved two new principals for the 2021-2021 school year as part of the personnel items. Eastside Elementary School Assistant Principal Tonia Reynolds will become the new principal at Northside Elementary School, while Jessica Lanham will become principal at Van Wert Elementary School after serving as the school’s assistant principal.