New­ton High prin­ci­pal an­nounced

New hire comes from Burke County

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Josh Briggs

New­ton High School has a new prin­ci­pal. The Board of Ed­u­ca­tion an­nounced Tues­day that Rod­er­ick Sams will re­place out­go­ing prin­ci­pal Joe Gheesling for the 20082009 school year.

Sams comes from Burke County, where he is cur­rently the prin­ci­pal at Blak­eney El­e­men­tary School.

Be­fore his ap­point­ment to prin­ci­pal at Blak­eney, Sams served the same role at Sardis­Gi­rard El­e­men­tary School from 2001 to 2006, giv­ing him eight years of ex­pe­ri­ence as a headad­min­is­tra­tor.

“ I saw Cov­ing­ton and New­ton County as a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity for my fam­ily,” Sams said in a press re­lease. “ From what I ob­served and what I’ve al­ready been told by mem- bers of the com­mu­nity, it is a won­der­ful place to live and the type of place my fam­ily can grow and pros­per.”

Sams’ path to NHS started in 1993 when he was a para­pro­fes­sional at Blak­eney while at­tend­ing Ge­or­gia South­ern Univer­sity.

The school hired Sams as a fifth grade teacher upon his grad­u­a­tion with a Bach­e­lor of Science in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion.

Along with his time as an ad­min­is­tra­tor in el­e­men­tary schools, Sams has four years of high school ex­pe­ri­ence as an as­sis­tant prin­ci­pal at Burke County High School.

Sams con­tin­ued his ed­u­ca­tion at both Ge­or­gia South- ern and Au­gusta State Univer­sity, re­ceiv­ing his doc­tor of ed­u­ca­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion in 2007.

The­board’s de­ci­sion comes af­ter a month- long in­ter­view process that in­cluded NHS as­sis­tant prin­ci­pals Vic­tor Lee and Carl Skin­ner among the qual­i­fied can­di­dates.

But the de­ci­sion to go out­side the school dis­trict echoes state­ments re­cently ap­pointed Su­per­in­ten­dent of Hu­man Re­sources Den­nis Car­pen­ter made in an in­ter­view with The News last month that the county is broad­en­ing its ef­forts to find qual­ity teach­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors.

In­ves­ti­ga­tors found that a man match­ing Tor­res’ de­scrip­tion had taken a taxi to an At­lanta bus sta­tion and pur­chased a ticket for Cal­i­for­nia.

Tor­res and Gon­za­les moved into the house sev­eral months ago and two other men were visit­ing them, Bankhead said. All four men were from Cal­i­for­nia.

New­ton County Sher­iff Joe Nichols pointed out in­ves­ti­ga­tors made ar­rests in 19 of the last 20 homi­cides in the county.

The suc­cess in clear­ing homi­cide cases was due to a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors, he said.

“We’ve got some very good in­ves­ti­ga­tors here,” said Nich- ols. “We’ve been given ex­cel­lent co­op­er­a­tion by the GBI in th­ese last two cases and by New Jer­sey po­lice and Alabama.”

He ex­pressed ap­pre­ci­a­tion for county agen­cies as well, such as the Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s of­fice, Cov­ing­ton Po­lice De­part­ment and Ge­or­gia State Pa­trol Troop­ers.

“We also have ben­e­fited by ex­cel­lent in­for­ma­tion and in­ter­ac­tion with the dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties,” Nichols said. “I ap­pre­ci­ate the com­mu­ni­ties in be­ing in­ter­ested in and in­volved in clear­ing th­ese cases.”

At a stand­ing-room only Trelawney neigh­bor­hood crime watch meet­ing on Sun­day af­ter­noon, NCSO Lt. Bill Wat­ter­son re­it­er­ated the role that com- mu­ni­ties play in polic­ing their neigh­bor­hoods.

“We had a good neigh­bor­hood watch, and it wasn’t even set up,” said Wat­ter­son, re­call­ing his child­hood days. “They were just nosy!

“You re­mem­ber those days? That’s what we need to bring back.”

NCSO Sgt. Sonny Good­son re­as­sured the Trelawney sub­di­vi­sion res­i­dents that their neigh­bor­hood was still one of the safest out of the sub­di­vi­sions along Brown Bridge Road.

Many res­i­dents also voiced con­cerns about group homes and unat­tended chil­dren and teenagers roam­ing about, com­mit­ting petty crimes and mak­ing the neigh­bor­hood feel un­safe.


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