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Toombs BOE Recognizes System Excellence

The Toombs County Board of Education had numerous awards and achievements to share at its regular session on November 11, as board members praised school administration, staff, and students for the excellence that they have shown in the system. Two Toombs County School System staff members were honored for their dedication to the schools. “The Extra Mile” award for certified employees was given to Rhonda Gerrits, a teacher at Lyons Primary School. Superintendent Barry Waller praised Gerrits for her work in the classroom. “Mrs. Gerrits is a great example of what a team player should be,” he said. “She is always willing to step in when needed and never hesitates to go the extra mile for her students. She takes a personal interest in each of their successes and provides whatever is needed for them to achieve this success.” “The WOW Award” was presented to Toombs County School System Transportation Department’s Mike Smith. Waller commented on the excellence of Smith’s work. “He is always willing to help and work toward a solution for any transportation problem or request,” Waller noted. “He supports his drivers and monitors, and often drives routes when the department is short handed. He is an all-around great guy.”

Toombs Central Elementary School Principal Destiny Levant highlighted student achievement and success at her school during the meeting. Levant shared that attendance had been one of the greatest improvements which the school had achieved after the COVID pandemic, as 97.78% of students attend school daily and 23% of students had not missed a day of school yet in the 2021-2022 school year.

Levant explained how financial supplements, such as the L4GA Grant and CARES funding, had been used to create literacy labs and stations to help students in their reading skills. Levant argued that these labs have been pivotal in the academic development of students.

She also shared that the school had formed a Kindness Club, which is led by Counselor Michelle Rhodes. This club promotes encouragement and kind words among students and helps create a more positive school atmosphere. Levant said this club has been effective in improving attendance of students because to attend Kindness Club meetings, students must be at school early.

In concluding her presentation, Levant remarked that the sole goal for Toombs Central Elementary School is to provide the best possible atmosphere and resources for student achievement. “We plant the seeds that create an environment where Toombs Central Elementary School students are able to bloom,” she commented. “We do this through hands-on learning, small group instruction, positive school atmosphere, and community support.”

Waller continued the discussion of importance of positive school atmosphere and climate as he explained the Board’s current study of Social Emotional Learning. Currently, Board members are learning about the seven mindsets that may be used to help develop the “whole child.” The Board hopes to implement this focus throughout the various schools.

Other Business

The old Toombs County Board of Education building is for sale through The Temples Company.

The old bus shop is being transferred to the City of Lyons through a oneyear lease.

The Teacher of the Year will be recognized at the upcoming meeting on December 9.

“WOW AWARD” — Mike Smith, right, of the Toombs County School System Transportation Department received the November “WOW Award” for his dedication to the school system. Above, Superintendent Barry Waller presents the award.Photo by Makaylee Randolph

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