MoCo BOE Recognizes Longtime SPED Director
The Montgomery County Board of Education recognized former Special Education Director Audrey Walters for her 14 years of service to the school system at their regular meeting on January 18. Walters recently retired from the school system in 2021 due to health issues.
“She has spent 25 years in the education field,” Assistant Superintendent Beverly Faircloth said. “Of those 25 years, she spent 10 years serving as our special education director, while the remainder were spent teaching or in other administrative roles. Yet, 2021 was a perfect storm and although she tried to hold out another year, she found herself finally pulling the trigger in early August.”
“I really wanted to stay one more year – I was not ready to go, but I had to do what was best for my health,” Walters added.
Faircloth shared the unique qualities that made Walters so beloved by the school system and the community. “There’s one thing about Audrey – kids knew it, adults knew it – she was going to do two things: she was going to talk straight and tell you exactly what she meant, and she was going to love hard and hug you even harder,” Faircloth emphasized. “We all knew it. Thank you, Audrey, for all you did for the school system, and for your unwavering commitment to the Montgomery County School System.” Walters then addressed the Board and the public. “I knew when I was a child that I wanted to be a teacher,” she remarked. “I have loved doing what I have done in the education system. I have a passion for the special needs community, as well as others, specifically prekindergarten. That probably was my most favorite thing in the education system: to start in pre-K as babies and watch the growth. I’d be a hot mess at graduations because those were my kids – I loved them.”
She concluded, “I did what was right by each child, which is what I felt was the best for them.”
Montgomery County Elementary School Beta Club Sponsor Amber Street presented the participants of some recent elementary and middle school Beta Club events and compositions to the Board at the meeting. Street began her presentation with the recognition of newly-elected Georgia Elementary Junior Beta President Karmin Johnson.
“This was not an easy task. She had to write and perform her own speech at the convention in Savannah, and she had to design a campaign and a campaign skit, much of which she did over Thanksgiving Break,” Street informed.
Campaign Skit participants Kinley Barber, Italy Thornton, and Tatum Williams were recognized for their first place-winning performance of Johnson’s skit. “These ladies did an amazing job with their performance. They were so enthusiastic and persuasive that they earned first place at the state convention,” Street explained.
Williams was recognized for not only serving as the “front woman” for Johnson’s skit, but also for her accomplishment of fifth place in the Digital Arts competition for her animal portrait. Middle School Beta Club Member Evan Hardeman was also recognized for his success in the Academic Math Competition, in which he placed second of 45 schools statewide.
“I am extremely proud of all of these students, and we are very grateful to our Board for allowing us to attend state conventions this year. Needless to say, it was a quite rewarding experience,” Street concluded.
Superintendent Stan Rentz commented on these accomplishments. “I cannot tell you all how proud I am of these students for helping to put Montgomery County on the map,” he said. “This group has great leadership, and I am very proud of all of their hard work.” Superintendent’s Report
Rentz shared his excitement for the recently named valedictorian and salutatorian of the Montgomery County High School Class of 2022. Both valedictorian Jacob Carpenter and salutatorian India Cummings have spent their high school years not only excelling in academics, but also athletics, as Carpenter is a four-year letterman in football, wrestling, and track and Cummings has lettered for four years in football and basketball cheerleading. Carpenter is also the first wrestler in school system history to reach 100 wins in his career, which he was recognized for recently at a wrestling tournament, and was recently named STAR Student for the school system. He chose high school biology teacher Will Adams as his STAR teacher.
The new school system calendar for the 2022-2023 school year was approved unanimously by the Board. This calendar is very similar to the current school year’s calendar: teachers will report for the new school year on July 25; the first day of school for students will be August 1; spring break will be April 3-7; and graduation will fall on May 19.
The school system’s band will receive new instruments, as the Board approved the purchase of several new musical instruments from O’Malley’s Musical Instruments for $49,820.85. The Board also approved spending $39,771,00 on a new audio/ video system that will be installed in the boardroom by 1 Accord.
Board members also approved updating the purchasing policy of the school system to require written bids for purchases with amounts exceeding $2,000. This policy change was presented in November and was originally to be considered at the December meeting, which was cancelled due to COVID-19
protocol. Several new hires were approved to join the school system staff for classified positions. They are substitute bus driver John Gilrey, elementary school custodian Jenna Manders, maintenance and transportation employee Gary Usher, student custodian Trevor Brad, communications coordinator Michael Lane, and, elementary school nurse Beth Williamson.
Retirements were accepted for elementary school teacher Rhonda Davidson, high school teacher Randy Dudley, middle school teacher Phyllis Davis, middle school teacher Laura Clark, and high school paraprofessional Janice Nobles. A resignation was also accepted by the Board from high school special education teacher Mike Cockrell. The resignation and all retirements do not take effect until the end of the 2021-2022 school year. The Board also approved two transitions for the upcoming school year, as Pam Calloway transfers to 49% middle school counselor and 51% district social worker, and Will Adams transitions to the position as Middle School Assistant Principal.