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June 5, 2015

 Benjamin Roundtree
NCSS Director of Elementary Education
  Dr. Makeba Clark
Principal, Cousins Middle School

It may be summer break, but Newton County School System Superintendent Samantha Fuhrey and the Board of Education are already focused on the 2015-2016 school year. At a special called meeting on Thursday, June 4, the Board approved Fuhrey’s recommendations for two important leadership positions she wanted to fill before the school year begins—the Director of Elementary Education and the principal of Cousins Middle School. Hired to fill those leadership roles were Benjamin Roundtree and Dr. Makeba Clark, respectively.

Mr. Benjamin Roundtree currently serves as the Director of Federal Programs; Coordinator for School Improvement; the Director of Testing; and the Director of Gifted Education for Twiggs County School System. Mr. Roundtree is a highly respected educator who, at the request of the Twiggs County Board of Education, served as Interim Superintendent of Schools during the 2012-2013 school year. He will replace departing NCSS Director of Elementary Education, Mr. Lee Peck, who has accepted a position with Oconee County Schools.

Roundtree earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism with minors in history and sociology from the University of Georgia in 1992. He received both his certification in middle grades education and a Master of Science degree in education from Fort Valley State University in 1996 and 1997 respectively. Mr. Roundtree furthered his education at Georgia College and State University, obtaining an education specialist degree in middle grades education in 2000 and a leadership certificate in educational administration and supervision in 2001.

Mr. Roundtree began his teaching career in Taylor County School System in Butler, Georgia in 1993. He has vast experience as both an elementary and middle school teacher and has worked for the following school districts: Bibb County School System, Clayton County School System, Muscogee County School System, and Twiggs County School System, were he was ultimately promoted to a leadership position in their central office. Mr. Roundtree has also served as an adjunct instructor at both Middle Georgia Technical College and Central Georgia Technical College.

Mr. Roundtree is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; UGA Journalism Alumni Association; Georgia Association of Educators; Georgia Association for Gifted Children; UGA Alumni Association; National Association of Black Journalists; National Association of Educators; and Bibb County Supporters of the Gifted. He has won numerous awards and honors in college and during his career, including Brother of the Year; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; McEvoy Middle School Teacher of the Year; UGA Hamilton McWhorter Cup; and the National Association of Black Journalists Award, just to name a few.

"As the Director of Elementary Education, it is my duty to make sure these years are meaningful and substantive for our children, their families, and the larger community,” said Roundtree, who plans to report to NCSS on July 1. “Aristotle tells us 'we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.' Excellence shall be our habit here in Newton County Schools."

“With Mr. Roundtree’s academic training and varied experiences, I am confident he will ensure our elementary program continues to provide students with high quality educational experiences,” said Fuhrey. 

In addition to Mr. Roundtree, NCSS will also welcome Dr. Makeba Clark as a new leader this year. Dr. Clark will take the helm at Cousins Middle School on June 15, when she replaces current principal Scott Sauls, who announced his retirement at the end of the school year. Dr. Clark is currently an assistant principal at Burney Harris Lyons Middle School in Athens, part of the Clarke County School System. She has held that position since July 2012. Dr. Clark has held several leadership positions in Clark County, including assistant principal at Howard B. Stroud Elementary; summer school principal at Alps Road Elementary; and Saturday school coordinator at Coile Middle School. Prior to making the jump to education leadership, Dr. Clark served as a teacher at Kings Bridge Middle School and later Coile Middle School in Athens. She began her teaching career at Albany Middle School in 2001 and moved to Kendrick Middle School in Jonesboro before settling in at Clarke County School System in 2003.

Dr. Clark earned a bachelor of science in middle grades education with a concentration in science and mathematics from Albany State University in 2001. She obtained a master in arts in instructional education (K-12) from Central Michigan University in 2003 and followed that up with a certificate in education leadership in 2008 from the University of Georgia. Dr. Clark completed all requirements for her education specialist degree in instructional leadership from Argosy University in 2009 and ultimate received her doctorate in education in teaching and learning from Argosy in 2014.

"I am excited about the opportunity to join the Cousins Middle School family,” said Dr. Clark. “I am committed to sustaining a positive and cohesive learning environment that provides rigorous and engaging learning experiences, while inspiring all students to achieve at high academic levels."

“I am confident that Dr. Clark’s experiences and leadership will enable the Cousins Middle School Cardinals to soar to new heights,” said Superintendent Fuhrey.

She added, “We are excited to have both Mr. Roundtree and Dr. Clark join the Newton County School System leadership team. The interview panels for both of these important positions were extremely impressed with Mr. Roundtree and Dr. Clark. The teaching and leadership experience and the knowledge they bring to the table is very impressive and will no doubt benefit our students.”

For more information, contact Ms. Sherri Davis-Viniard, Director of Public Relations for Newton County School System, at