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A closer look at the finalists for Columbia County superintendent

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 11:37 PM EST
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EVANS, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - We’re down to three finalists to be the next school superintendent in Columbia County.

We wanted to learn more about the people who could be making decisions for your child.

“I’m kind of on the fence when it comes to who might be the best candidate,” parent Priscilla Hall said.

From left: Penny Jackson, Steven Flynt and Michele Sherman
From left: Penny Jackson, Steven Flynt and Michele Sherman(WRDW)

It’s all up to the school board on who will be the next superintendent, but parents are hoping for certain qualifications.

“Someone who is politically neutral. Because it’s not a political position. It’s serving all students from diverse backgrounds and diverse beliefs,” Parent Elizabeth Hahn said.

Parents like Priscilla Hall, who hope the superintendent can offer better accommodations to kids like her daughter who requires an individualized education program.

“You can’t get all your accommodations met, and they get frustrated. So, there’s not a lot offered. And it makes it really challenging,” Hall said.

Many are hopeful the next superintendent can bring something new to the table.

So here’s the breakdown of each of them:

Penny Jackson, associate superintendent of the Columbia County School District:

  • Has been with the district since 2001; was promoted from assistant superintendent to associate superintendent in 2019.
  • Oversees multiple departments including school safety, transportation, and athletics.
  • Pursuing a doctorate in education from the University of Alabama.
  • Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership Executive Team Member

Michele Sherman, assistant superintendent of the Columbia County School District:

  • Has worked in the district since 1998; promoted to assistant superintendent in 2015
  • Appointed by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp to work alongside other educators to consult on COVID-19 responses in schools; appointed to K-12 Restart Work Group by Kemp
  • Oversees social work, wrap-around services, and the Pre-K program
  • Holds a master’s degree in education from Augusta State University

Dr. Steven Flynt, associate superintendent of the Gwinnett County School District:

  • Started his career in 1993; has been a superintendent in Gwinnett County since 2016.
  • Helped open 38 schools and Gwinnett’s Office of Student Services as an active associate superintendent.
  • Holds a doctorate in education from the University of Georgia.
  • Is a Harvard University Public Education Leadership Project graduate.

No matter who’s chosen, “we definitely just need someone that’s going to be fair to everybody,” Hall said, “and bring that to the board of education.”

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