The McDuffie County Board of Education voted on Nov. 19 during a regular meeting to extend School Superintendent Dr. Mychele Rhodes’ contract an additional year beginning July 1, 2021 so that her contract will expire on June 30, 2024. Rhodes has led the school system as superintendent for six years.
Rhodes was presented the
2020 President's Award from the Georgia School Superintendents Association on Oct. 14. RESA (Regional Educational Service Agency) district directors nominate superintendents for the award. Rhodes was one of six superintendents from among more than 180 school superintendents across the state to have received the President’s Award for the 2019-2020 school year.
CSRA RESA Director Dr. Debbie Alexander nominated Rhodes for the GSSA President's Award, and detailed Rhodes’ accomplishments in a nomination letter.
“With Dr. Rhodes's leadership, dual enrollment, Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) pathway opportunities and innovative advanced content options have flourished,” Alexander wrote. “In recent years, we have added pathways in drafting and design, early childhood education, cosmetology, computer science, and cybersecurity. This year we opened a metals lab and welding pathway at the request of local industries, an offspring of the Archway Partnership Workforce & Education Committee's work with the school system and local Chamber of Commerce as well as generous donations from Georgia Power and Jefferson Energy.
“To address the growing need for teachers across the nation, the system has been working closely with Augusta University on its early childhood education program, including participating in the annual AU Impacting Student Learning Conference and Future Georgia Educators Day as well as holding a signing day for seniors committing to become educators,” Alexander continued. “In addition, we offer pathways in NJROTC, healthcare science, automotive technology, agriscience, construction, and business and information technology.”
Alexander stated she has known Rhodes for 20 years and described her as a “homegrown” McDuffie County school superintendent.
“After teaching in Claxton, [Rhodes] came to J.A. Maxwell Elementary as a teacher and subsequently became the system's first National Board Certified Teacher,” Alexander wrote. “Promoted to assistant principal, it was under her leadership that Maxwell was named a National Blue Ribbon School and she earned the title of Assistant Principal of the Year for the 10th Congressional District.”
Rhodes then became interim principal at Maxwell, and was soon made principal, according to Alexander.
“From there, she was promoted to the district's Director of Federal Programs, Director of Curriculum & Instruction, and later Assistant Superintendent,” Alexander wrote of Rhodes’ career history. “Upon the resignation of the former superintendent, she was asked by the board to assume the interim role and, a few months later, the permanent role of superintendent.”
Alexander stated Rhodes has been in education for 27 years, 24 of which have been in McDuffie County’s school system.
“Her education includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Georgia Southern University, a Master’s Degree in Education from Georgia Southern University, an Educational Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Augusta University and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Administration from Georgia Southern University,” according to Alexander.
In other school board business, the board approved the carry over of several federal grant allocations including for Title I, Part A in the amount of $356,652; Title II, Part A in the amount of $6,845; and IDEA Flow-through in the amount of $218,721.
Board members also approved the following recommended personnel actions: Mark Lixie was hired as a general maintenance technician; Vivian Renee Melcher was hired as a bus driver; Frankeria Lockett was hired as a bus monitor; Thomson High School secretary/bookkeeper Mary Wynn’s employment was terminated on Oct. 23; Maxwell Elementary School paraprofessional Patricia Dunaway retired Oct. 31; Thomson-McDuffie Middle School teacher Sheronda Gullatt-Cooper resigned Nov. 6; and Elizabeth Ivey declined a job offer as a permanent sub for 2020-2021 due to Covid-19.