New superintendent named in Stewart County -, GA News Weather & Sports

New superintendent named in Stewart County


There's a new superintendent in charge of schools in Stewart County. The board voted Dr. Valerie Roberts into the position 3-1 over former high school principal John Hamilton.

The woman who is going to replace outgoing interim superintendent Dianne Watkins spoke to our cameras immediately after the vote that occurred at Stewart County Elementary in Lumpkin this today, July 8.  She said she has a long history of working in education. 

"I'm coming from Sumter County Schools. In Sumter County, I served as a special education teacher, as a school counselor, as a vice-principal, principal, assistant superintendent, and human resources director. I have been in the system for 25 years," said Roberts.

The former superintendent, Watkins, leaves at the same time when 13 teachers are also retiring or resigning, which accounts for roughly one third of the district's staff. She calls that an indication of the district's instability. Watkins says replacements have been found for most of the teachers, but there is still no candidate for high school principal now that John Hamilton is gone.  He was in the running for superintendent, but he was turned down in favor of Roberts.  She says she is going to get the district back on track financially.

"One of the things that concerns me is that the length of the school year for the students.  I am going to look to see whether there is any possibility of increasing the number of days that the children are in school.  Right now they are in school four days a week.  The ideal situation would be to have them in school for the five days," said Roberts.

We asked the chairman, Austin Taylor Jr., why the board picked Roberts over Hamilton, "Well, she talks like she's going to be a good superintendent. I can't say until I work with her." said Taylor.

Roberts said she's grateful for the opportunity and ready to go to work.

One of the issues Watkins said the board could not agree upon during her term is what to do with the high school building.  There has been talk for more than a year about moving the 6 through 12 grade students to the elementary school to save money, but no action has been taken.  The new superintendent says she doesn't have a position on that subject yet.

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