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Partners In Excellence gather for annual meeting

The Westover High School Chorus, led by Selena Bentley, performs during the beginning of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce-Dougherty County School System Partners in Excellence Rise ‘N Shine Breakfast Wednesday morning at the Hilton Garden Inn. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

The Westover High School Chorus, led by Selena Bentley, performs during the beginning of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce-Dougherty County School System Partners in Excellence Rise ‘N Shine Breakfast Wednesday morning at the Hilton Garden Inn. (Staff Photo: Terry Lewis)

ALBANY — More than 250 business, community leaders and Dougherty County School System representatives crowded into the Hilton Garden Inn Conference Center Wednesday as the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce and the local public school system recognized their Partners in Excellence at a Rise N Shine Breakfast.

The Partners in Excellence Program, celebrating its 27th year, is the school system’s premier school/business partnership program that pairs businesses, community organizations, and civic organizations with schools to promote excellence in education.

The primary goal of the Partners in Excellence Program is to strengthen and enrich the instructional programs in schools thereby ensuring that all students graduate with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes required for life-long learning and successful functioning as members of the workforce, community, and society

At the gathering, the DCSS welcomed 34 new Partners into the fold.

“My experience in the Dougherty County School System equipped me to handle life,” said U-Sav-It Pharmacy’s Jay Sharpe, an event co-sponsor said. “You (the DCSS) have the opportunity to mold and shape the children of this community, and we thank you for that.”

DCSS Interim Superintendent Butch Mosely then thanked the local businesses and community for supporting the district’s attempts to pull itself out of problems that have plagued it in the past.

“You are the engine of our economy, and we appreciate your support,” Mosely said. “My commitment to you is that things will continue to get better. We will not accept poor performance, and that starts with me.”

Mosely pointed out the many changes that had taken place after the system was rocked by a CRCT cheating scandal and intervention by the state after questionable Title I expenditures were uncovered.

“I read the paper, I understood the situation I was getting into when I took this job in January,” Mosely said. “But I’ve been around long enough to remember when the Dougherty County School System was the crown jewel of public education in south Georgia. I took the job knowing it would be difficult, but I believe that we can restore that system.”

Mosely pointed to a nearly completed deal with Albany Technical College he said will help combat the district’s high drop out rate and promote dual enrollment programs which will result in job ready graduates well prepared for post-secondary education.