Dougherty County Schools Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely said Friday he has seen improvement within the district since he arrived in Albany in January. With just more than six months remaining on his contract, Mosely said there is still much work to be done. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)
ALBANY — When Butch Mosely rolled into town in January to become the Dougherty County School System’s interim superintendent, he inherited a school system in dire need of a steady hand on the tiller. Nearly a year later, the ship still has some leaks and the state Department of Education continues to peer over the district’s shoulder, but things appear better than they were.
In the past year, the system’ reserve fund is up by $3 million to just more than $12 million, employee morale is up and much of that is due to Mosely’s people first attitude.
“I said when I took this job it was going to be a challenge,” Mosely said Friday. “I also said we have to have the right people in place and let them do their jobs.”
Mosely replaced former superintendent Joshua Murfree’s entire cabinet, with the exception of Public Information Director R.D. Harter. He also replaced 11 of the district’s principals, including at three of the four high schools.
He brought in David Coley to work with the state on the district’s federal programs. He also enlisted Jack Willis as an administrative assistant to troubleshoot problems in the transportation department and issues with school discipline.
All three men — Mosely, Coley and Willis — are experienced school administrators with nearly 80 years of combined experience.
With just more than six months remaining on his contract, Mosely said there is still much work to be done with his focus on the system’s more than 2,400 administrators, teachers and support staff.
“Yes, we are making progress, but we are not out of the woods yet,” Mosely said. “We want to continue to focus on academic improvement based on good teaching and sound academic practices throughout the process. I expect to see some positive results in our test results at the end of the year.
“We also want to continue to focus on ways to save the system money so we can spend it where it needs to be spent — on our children. We need to continue to improve our work habits, to work harder and smarter. I have high expectations of all of our employees, because the lifeblood of any organization depends on the quality of the people it employs.”
With the system about to embark on a five-year plan of school improvement projects involving eight different projects with a $40 million price tag, Mosely is watching those pennies carefully. Projects are planned for Turner, Northside and Lake Park elementary schools, Albany and Westover High phase II, the Magnolia Elementary Education Center, and Sylvandate and Sylvester Road contingent of the relocation of several programs.
“We’ve got more than $40 million of improvements sitting on the table and I am determined to see those projects come in on time and at or under budget,” he said. “It’s a significant amount of money and it has to be done right.”
Mosely also is looking to improve discipline in the schools.
“Right now we have a problem with a good number unruly students,” Mosely said. “We can’t have them disrupting classes.”
The superintendent said the district will likely take another look at a possible College and Career Academy which was gly voted down by the school board in 2012. Mosely said the DCSS is also looking at strengthening it’s ties with Albany Technical College to help more students have career skills upon graduating from high school.
He’s also putting the squeeze on the Board of Education.
“The BOE needs to focus on the big picture and demand excellence and provide support especially in regard to personnel matters,” Mosely said. “This will help us continue our efforts for overall school improvement.”