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May 7, 2015

(Click here for pictures of the 2015 LDI participants.)

Twenty-four teachers representing each of Newton County’s schools as well as the central office have successfully completed the year-long Newton County Leadership Development Institute (LDI). The goal of the training program is to provide educational excellence for all students through increasing capacity for leadership throughout the school district. During the course of the school year, these aspiring leaders gained a better understanding of what it means to be an educational leader within the Newton County School System.

According to NCSS Secondary Curriculum Director Shannon Buff, the Leadership Institute was created to meet several core objectives. These include:

  • ·      Preparing teachers to become leaders within the Newton County School System;
  • ·      Building the capacity of leaders to help teachers and other school personnel to deliver high quality instruction through the use of Research-Based Instructional Strategies, Building Background Knowledge, and Technology Integration;
  • ·      Learning to utilize resources and time to maximize student achievement;
  • ·      Creating an environment of collaboration through the use of high functioning professional learning communities;
  • ·      Improving school culture through effective supervision and evaluation; and
  • ·      Becoming familiar with district and state policy.

This year’s participants were nominated by their school principal or supervisor for consideration for the program. In addition to having at least three years of teaching experience, participants were required to either currently hold or be actively pursuing leadership certification in the State of Georgia. Most importantly, the selection panel looked for both a commitment to ongoing professional growth and clear evidence of the teacher’s leadership within the school.

“During the course of the school year, our participants met at the District Office on a bi-monthly basis for a discussion-based program on numerous educational leadership topics, including curriculum and instruction, professional learning, technology integration, discipline and supervision, student services, school operations and facilities, personnel and human resources, special education, state and federal institutes, and effective communication,” said Buff. “On the alternate months, they had the unique opportunity to shadow administrators and leaders within the school district.”

She added, “By fostering the leadership skills of our teachers today we are actually developing a very strong leadership cadre to carry Newton County Schools into the future. When teachers are committed to increasing their own knowledge and furthering their own education, the students in their classrooms most definitely benefit.”

“I am very proud of the teachers who participated in our Leadership Development Institute,” said NCSS Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey. “We all recognize that teachers have a very demanding job that starts well before the first bell rings and doesn’t end until long after school dismisses in the afternoon. Many teachers spend their evenings and weekends grading papers and creating innovative lesson plans to be used the following week. At the same time, several are pursuing additional degrees in an effort to fine-tune their craft and be the best at their work! Needless to say, teachers have a ‘full-plate!’ Despite all this, the 24 LDI participants elected to add another activity to their workload to improve their leadership skills and obtain a more thorough understanding of the leadership/administrative side of the Newton County School System. Their commitment to going ‘above and beyond’ is a testament to their dedication to our students and school system, and I look forward to what the future may hold for our talented LDI participants.”

See below for the list of teachers who completed all of the requirements of the 2014-2015 Newton County School System Leadership Development Institute:




East Newton

Julie Thompson


Juanita Hosch-Martin

Flint Hill

Janice Baulkmon

Heard-Mixon Elementary

Maria Hargrove

Live Oak Elementary

Rothell Lewis, Jr.

Livingston Elementary

Casey Hutchinson

Mansfield Elementary

Diana Hipps

Middle Ridge Elementary

Jennifer Allen

Newton County Theme School at Ficquett

Kim Wilber

Oak Hill Elementary

Bettina Martin

Porterdale Elementary

Mary Jordan-Drake

Rocky Plains Elementary

Hope Barr

South Salem Elementary

Christina Crowe

West Newton Elementary

Sabrina Grant

Clements Middle

Linda Allemani

Cousins Middle

James Kitchens

Indian Creek Middle

Leigh Vrable

Liberty Middle

David Miller

Veterans Memorial Middle

Jeanne Rachels

Alcovy High

Anita Anderson

Eastside High

David Allen

Newton High

Aaron Robinson

Newton College & Career Academy

Debra Lary

NCSS Central Office

Jennifer Williams

For more information on the Newton County School System’s Leadership Development Institute, contact Ms. Shannon Buff at