Bailey begins to put his team in place

Newly appointed Grady County School Superintendent Lee M. Bailey is beginning to put in place his administrative team that will hit the ground running when the new school chief takes command next month.
On Tuesday night, current Superintendent Dr. Tommy Pharis recommended on Bailey’s behalf the transfer of Washington Middle School Principal Dr. Kermit V. Gilliard Jr. and Whigham Elementary School Principal Demetrius Cox to the central office.
Under Bailey’s new management plan Dr. Gilliard will serve as the assistant superintendent for operations & leadership and Mrs. Cox will be the assistant superintendent for curriculum & instruction.
Both Dr. Pharis and Assistant Superintendent Martha Fowler are retiring at the end of the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
“Both of these principals are recognized educational leaders of their schools and are greatly respected by their colleagues and community. They are both detail oriented and possess the skills necessary to operating our school system,” Bailey said.
According to the new superintendent, additional state required documentation and verification as well as the new teacher/administrator evaluation instrument to be implemented in 2015 as part of the federal Race To The Top program will require “a tremendous amount of time” for central office administrators.
Bailey said the school system currently earns state funding for two assistant superintendent positions on the state allotment sheet. Dr. Pharis was forced to cut central office personnel during his tenure as superintendent to address declining state and federal funding for the public school system.
“I am very thankful the board has elected to install these two highly skilled people in these key positions,” Bailey said.
Dr. Gilliard is a veteran educator with the local school system. He began his teaching career here in 1989 as a special education teacher at Cairo High School. He left the following year to teach in Gwinnett County before returning in 1993 to accept a position of learning disability teacher and part-time special education instructional coordinator.
In 1994 he was named the director of special education, a role he maintained until being named principal of Eastside Elementary School in 2006. Then in 2009 he was named principal of Washington Middle School, where he is currently employed.
In addition to work with the Grady County Schools, Dr. Gilliard is a member of the Cairo City Council.
He was recently selected from thousands of his peers in Georgia to serve as one of just 30 to participate in the Principal Leadership Network sponsored by the Professional Association of Georgia Educators. This group focuses on sharing strategies to make student engagement a central priority for Georgia schools.
He and his wife, Cristie, are the parents of two children, Anna, a rising eighth grader at Washington MIddle School, and Owen, a rising fourth grader at Eastside Elementary School.
Whigham Principal Demetrius Cox is also a veteran of the Grady County schools having begun her career with the system in 1976 as a secretary at Southside Elementary School where she worked through 1979.
Then in 1984 she taught one year at Whigham before transferring to Northside Elementary School where she taught from 1985 until 2000. From 2000 – 2004 she served as the instructional coordinator at Southside Elementary School.
In 2004 she was named principal of Whigham Elementary School and she had continued to serve in that capacity through the current school term.
Mrs. Cox holds an education specialist degree. She and her husband, Jet, have three grown children and eight grandchildren.
Bailey said Tuesday night he would be meeting with the school councils of Whigham on Wednesday and at Washington on Thursday to seek input on what he should focus on in selecting new principals for both schools.
“I’m a firm believer in school councils. I’ve served on councils and worked with them in Thomas County,” the incoming superintendent said.
Bailey met with Cox and Gilliard last week including a nearly four hour session Saturday. He is hoping to fill the principal vacancies as soon as possible.

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