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Calhoun County releases list of school superintendent finalists

Worth County High Prinicipal Russ Chesser among final three candidates

MORGAN — After reviewing nearly 40 applications and interviewing 12 candidates, the Calhoun County School Board has released the names of three finalists selected to replace outgoing Superintendent Danny Ellis, who is retiring in June.

The three finalists are Worth County High School Principal Russ Chesser; Greene County, Ala., Career and Technical Education Director Rhinnie Scott; and The Champion School in Stone Mountain Principal Yolanda Turner.

“We reviewed all of the applications that met the qualifications set forth by the Board through Southwest Georgia RESA (Regional Educational Service Agency) and were impressed by the caliber of applicants,” Alvin Williams, chairman of Calhoun County Board of Education, said. “After two rounds of interviews, we have narrowed the pool of candidates down to three and will now work together to determine the best person to lead our school system. Our next step will then be to negotiate a contract with that person, and our hope is to accomplish that step before spring break.”

The candidates include:

• Chesser has been Worth County High’s principal for the past two years. He has extensive leadership experience as he has served as principal of Hutchings High School in Bibb County, principal of Porter Elementary School in Bibb County, and principal of West Jackson Middle School in Jackson County. Previously, he served as an assistant principal in Jackson County and as a teacher and coach in Charlton County.

He earned his bachelor’s degree in middle grades education from Armstrong Atlantic State University in 1994 and his Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Valdosta State University in 2001. He obtained his doctorate in Educational Leadership from NOVA Southeastern University in 2004.

• Scott has served as CTE Director for Greene County schools in Alabama for the past 19 years. During her tenure as CTE Director, Scott also served at various times as interim principal and interim instructional leader of Greene County High School as well as interim testing and curriculum coordinator for Greene County Schools. She began her career as a secondary science teacher and then served as coordinator of several different system programs before entering the school administration field.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Stillman College in 1982 and her master’s degree in biology from the University of West Alabama in 1992. She added her doctorate in educational leadership from NOVA Southeastern University in 2009.

• Turner has been principal of The Champion School after being named a DeKalb County Principal of the Year in 2013. Previously, she served as principal of Murphey Candler Elementary School and principal of Kingsley Charter School in DeKalb County. She has taught both elementary and middle school and has served as an assistant principal at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, all in DeKalb County.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Georgia State University in 1986 and her master’s degree in middle grades education from Clark Atlanta University in 1991. She obtained her doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Sarasota in 1999. She is currently enrolled in the School Superintendent Professional Development Program from the Georgia School Superintendent’s Association and is expected to complete the program next year.

The new superintendent will be chosen from the list above at a called BOE meeting on March 27. The meeting will be held in the superintendent’s office at 5:30 p.m.