HCS Board of Education Meeting – April 15, 2024

Posted by Sybil Barkley on 4/17/2024

HCS Board of Education Meeting – April 15, 2024

Board Member Items

Board Chair Sophe Pope provided an update on the Superintendent search. The Board has secured the Georgia School Board Association as the search firm to facilitate the search for our next Superintendent, and the search launched on April 1st. A Superintendent Search Survey has also been shared with the Henry County community to solicit input on key priority areas in identifying a new superintendent.  There is a website dedicated to sharing updates with the community, and it can be accessed here: Superintendent Search

Superintendent’s Welcome


Dr. Knowlton recognized the first Community Leadership Academy, which consists of community members who have participated in learning opportunities throughout the school year on topics such as intergovernmental partnerships, budgeting, operational services, and family and student support services.


Dr. Knowlton took time to celebrate Child Abuse Prevention Month to honor efforts to stop child abuse. The Month of the Military Child was recognized to honor the sacrifices made by military families. School Library Month was celebrated to honor media specialists and their role in supporting students. Assistant Principal Week occurred the week of April 1-5 and acknowledges the positive impact they have on students and communities. Exceptional Children’s Week will occur April 14-20 and celebrates our students with unique learning needs. Afterschool Professionals Week will be celebrated April 22-26 for our staff members who serve schools and communities before and after school. Paraprofessional Appreciation Day occurred on April 3) and recognizes their hard work, dedication, and support for student success. And lastly, Administrative Professionals Day will be celebrated on April 24, and we thank them for their contributions to Henry County Schools.




  1. Strategic Plan 
    1. Strategic Plan Year 3, Quarter 3 Report, Mrs. Summer Cox, Chief of Staff

Ms. Cox provided the Year 3, Quarter 3 report to highlight recent accomplishments in implementing the community inspired 5-year strategic plan. The Board recently approved new target goals for Priority Student Outcomes in the areas of Student Connectivity, Reading for different grade levels, and ACT and SAT participation. Highlights from Year 3, Quarter 3 include progress in our preparations to open the new STEM high school, professional development for teachers, and expansion of fine arts programming. We continue to develop opportunities for students in the Before and After School Enrichment Program, while also providing more Advanced Placement and World Language opportunities. Teacher and Leader Development is a focus as we strive to recruit and retain the best, teachers, leaders, and support staff. Making data more accessible and functional has been a priority this quarter as well, with work to improve our data analytics platform and our reporting abilities. We have continued to build partnerships with colleges and community agencies to develop options for students to earn high school equivalency diplomas, and to provide health resources to staff and families, including assistance with obtaining immunizations. 

  1. Ensuring Operational Effectiveness 
    1. March Construction and E-SPLOST Report, Mr. Josh Malcom, Chief Operations Officer 
  1. Birch Creek Elementary

Construction is progressing as scheduled for a 2024-2025 opening, with final grading activities and concrete placement coming to an end. Phase 1 and 2 floor coverings have been completed in the classrooms. Permanent power is also in place.

  1. School Electronic Message Signs

Electronic signage has been completed for ARMS, LMS, LHS, MMS, MHS, SMS, SHS, WMS, and WHS.

  1. New Administration Office Facility

Rough grading for the new parking lot has begun and stair installation is complete. Installation of interior metal stud framing has begun, with steel erection is nearing completion. 

  1. New Transportation Facility & Renovations to Existing Transportation.

Grading activities are nearing completion, and roof drainage have been installed.

  1. HVAC Cooling Tower Replacement

This is on schedule for Austin Road Elementary and East Lake Elementary, with contracts completed and plans to start the project this summer.


    1. March 2024 Financial Reports, Mr. Jeff Allie, Acting Chief Financial Officer 
  1. March 2024 Financial Report
  • General Fund Assets and Total Cash on Hand - The total value of general fund’s assets at the close of March totaled $201.6 million, while Cash on Hand across all funds during reporting period totaled $466.1 million.
  • E-SPLOST V There were expenditures of $116,655 during the month of March. Mr. Allie also indicated that this program is anticipated to close out by the end of this fiscal year.
  • E-SPLOST VI - There were expenditures of $11.2 million in the month of March, bringing expenditures to date for the program to 31%. 
  • Capital Accumulation - There were expenditures of $538,226 with investments in Safety and Security infrastructure as the key driver in the month of March.
  • ESSER Funds- There were no expenditures incurred in March.


    1. FY25 Tentative Budget, Mr. Jeff Allie, Acting Chief Financial Officer 

Mr. Allie presented the FY25 Tentative Budget with recommendations outlining the forecast of changes in revenues and expenditures anticipated considering legislative and local priorities. Now that the 2024 Legislative Session has closed, to include adoption of the State’s FY25 Budget, and the local tax digest data window has closed, budgetary impacts have been analyzed to contribute to the FY25 Tentative Budget recommendations.

Mr. Allie previewed the FY25 Tentative Budget, which includes competitive compensation for employees. Certified staff will receive the $2,500 raise supported in the state’s adopted budget, steps in the salary scale will be honored, classified and administrative pay scales will increase by 2%, and other job families such as bus drivers and paraprofessionals will see additional increases.

Additional areas of focus for the FY25 Tentative Budget include investments in Strategic Plan initiatives that prioritize high-quality instruction and support services, mental health and wellness, and growth and replacement efforts.

The first of two Budget Hearings occurred on April 15th with the tentative adoption of the budget that evening, and the second hearing will occur on May 13th with the final FY25 budget adoption that evening.

To promote awareness and ensure community transparency in the FY25 budget development process, a website has been established to archive all materials and keep you updated. Visit FY25 Budget Development Updates to follow each month.

    1. Legislative Update, Mrs. Summer Cox, Chief of Staff

Mrs. Cox provided an update on the recent legislative session. The Henry County Board of Education has identified Legislative Priorities for the 2023-2024 school year, and they include mental health and wellness, supportive safe, and secure learning environments, educator compensation, teacher pipeline development, learning opportunities for students, and support for families. As the 2024 Legislation Session closed in March, themes included the Georgia Promise Scholarship, health and safety, student discipline, and social media. Governor Kemp has until May 7th to sign or veto pending legislation.


  1. FY25 Tentative Budget Adoption

The Board of Education approved the FY25 tentative budget with a vote of 4 to 0.


  1. District Printer Lease Renewal

The Board of Education approved the FY25 District Printer Lease Renewal with a vote of 4 to 0.


  1. Henry Reads: Science of Reading Training

The Board of Education approved funds for the facilitation of the Henry Reads: Science of Reading Training with a vote of 4 to 0.


  1. Student Learning Devices Purchase

The Board of Education approved the purchase of Student Learning devices with a vote of 4 to 0.


  1. Resolution- Unity Grove Rosenwald School

The Board of Education approved the resolution of support for the Unity Grove Rosenwald School with a vote of 4 to 0.


  1. 2024-2025 Code of Conduct

The Board of Education adopted the 2024-2025 Code of Conduct with a vote of 4 to 0.


  1. Temporary Construction & Sanitary Sewer Easement- McCullough Road

The Board of Education approved the temporary construction and sanitary sewer easement on McCullough Road with a vote of 4 to 0. 


Inspiration for the April Board Meeting was provided by the Hampton Elementary Chorus Club who performed “Loch Lomond”. Hampton Elementary’s music teacher is Mr. Erik Payton and their principal is Ms. Johane St. Aime.

HES Chorus Club 1
HES Chorus Club 2

 View full photo album here.


Ola High School Wrestling Team –

2024 Georgia High School Association (GHSA) State Champions

The Ola High School wrestling team was recognized for being the 2024 Georgia High School Association Traditional Wrestling State Champions. In addition, they were recognized for being the state runner-up in the State Wrestling Duals held in January 2024.


  • Brian Papcun
  • Lincoln Durden
  • Jared Walker
  • Colby Lejeune
  • Talon Cole
  • Jeremy Reagin
  • Jackson Sargent
  • Landen Moss
  • Max Meredith
  • Alexander Dossett
  • Gabe Easey
  • J'Veion Redmon
  • Landon McKee
  • Joseph Colbert
  • Carson Kimbrough
  • Joseph Martin
  • Wyatt Johnsey
  • Tye Daniel
  • Nick Ellis, Principal
  • Joey Dinino, Head Coach
  • Byron Fleming, Coach
  • Nathan Becker, Coach
  • Adam Easey, Coach
  • Andrell Durden, Coach


OHS Wrestling


Dutchtown High School Girls Dance Team –

2024 Georgia High School Association (GHSA) State Champions

The Dutchtown High School Girls Dance team, the Dutchtown StarZ, was recognized for being the 2024 Georgia High School Association State High Kick Champions. They are back-to-back High Kick Champions. In 2020 they won the Hip Hop division.


  • Zyriah Brown
  • Leah Geter
  • Victoria Beltran
  • Madison Berry
  • Courtney Adams
  • Jourdae Blakey
  • Nyique Hurdle
  • Abriana Walton
  • Brooklynn Cummings
  • Kierra Williams
  • Arionna Woods
  • India Crowe
  • Aaliyah Sims
  • Destiny Akins
  • Nicole Shaw, Principal
  • Ebonee Usher, Head Coach
  • Anji Usher, Coach

OHS Wrestling


Griffin RESA - 2024 Regional Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition

The Georgia Language Arts Supervisors and the Georgia RESA Network with support from the Georgia Department of Education, is open to students in grades K-12 and includes all styles of writing such as short stories, poetry, essay, research reports, and other forms. The purpose of Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition is to encourage students to develop enthusiasm for and expertise in their writing, to provide a context to celebrate their writing successes, and to recognize student achievement in arts and academics.


Congratulations to the following Henry County Winners:


  • Red Oak Elementary
    • Kyleigh Gardner, Kindergarten Winner
    • Jermaine Ausmore, Principal
  • Impact Academy
    • Allyson Green, Winner Grade 6
    • Delphine Patterson, Principal



Griffin RESA 2023-2024 Regional Elementary School Math Contest

The Griffin RESA Elementary School Math Contest is a regional competition among elementary schools in the Griffin RESA region.


New Hope Elementary School math team placed 2nd in Division I:


  • Jaden Dudik
  • Peyton Nooner
  • Ali Hassan
  • Hollis Charpentier
  • Hunter Patrick
  • Micki Foster, Principal
  • Chelsea Floyd, Coach



Unity Grove Elementary School math team placed 1st in Division II:


  • Turner Breedlove
  • CJ McCranie
  • Carly Freeman
  • Tripp Breedlove
  • Hudson Hill
  • Elyse Durden, Principal
  • Hope Mangham, Coach



1st place Individual Winner Overall:


Unity Grove Elementary:


  • Hudson Hill
  • Elyse Durden, Principal



Leverage Leadership Institute Platinum Recognition Award

Monica Blasingame, Principal of McDonough High School, received the Platinum Recognition Award from the Leverage Leadership Institute for completion of their fellowship program. The Leverage Leadership Institute Fellowship is for high-performing principals and principal managers who serve in traditional school districts and charter management organizations from all over the world.


  • Monica Blasingame, Principal, McDonough High School

Monica Blasingame


Henry County Schools 2023 Community Leadership Academy

The Henry County Board of Education’s inaugural class of the Community Leadership Academy consists of citizens from across the Henry County community who participated in monthly training sessions beginning in August 2023. Members learned about key aspects of school district operations, including Governance and Policy, Teaching and Learning, Student Supports, Finance, and Operations.


  • Cameron Boyd
  • William Bradley
  • Natasha Branch
  • Cassandra M. Calixte
  • Graham Denio
  • Don Dunlap
  • Wanda Emerson
  • Felicia Felder
  • Erica Gaines
  • Jennice Gist
  • Jadrien Grimes
  • Josette Hutton Evans
  • Richard J. Sylvia, Jr.
  • Brandolyn Johnson
  • Xavier Johnson
  • Sidrah Khan
  • Jennifer Lewis
  • Morrelle McCrary
  • Meshandria McKinney
  • Emma Ngo
  • Mike Oglesby
  • Kelli Owen
  • Gewel Richardson
  • Kathy Wilson


CLA Class


2023-2024 Leadership Cohorts

Henry County Schools is proud to recognize two leadership cohorts which are led by Kristen McRae, Director of Leadership Development:


Leadership Enhancement and Development (LEAD):


  • Tequela Crawford
  • Marlon Gilbert
  • Shaykele Holsey
  • Dr. Brian Mincey
  • Dr. Whitney Pasch
  • Dr. Crystal Williams
  • Quavious Wright


LEAD Cohorts


Additional Support for Professionals Inspired to Reach Excellence (ASPIRE):


  • Andrea Griggs
  • Brittanie Brown
  • Brooke Spaulding
  • Caitlin Boyd
  • Dr. Dionne Lazenby
  • Dr. Misty Givens
  • Dr. Monique Jackson
  • Dr. George Johnson, Jr.
  • Ideer Walker
  • James Forsythe
  • Jessica Walker
  • Kelci Sorensen
  • Kimberly N. Howard
  • Michael Reynolds
  • Michelle Hill
  • Morgan Dentler
  • Natasha Berry
  • Pam Michael
  • Phallon Trice
  • Sabrina Jones


ASPIRE Cohorts





New Position

Previous Position

Joy Byne*

Coordinator of Accounting Financial Services

Accounting Lead

Financial Services

Elizabeth Ginther

Assessment Supervisor

Learning and Performance

Assistant Principal

Bethlehem Elementary

    *Asterisk denotes approval at the March 25, 2024 Special Called Board Meeting


District Board Member


District 1, Pam Nutt

Dr. Nutt recognized Stacy Caldwell from Ola High School on being named the South Metro Region Library Media Specialist of the Year. 


Dr. Nutt celebrated April being Autism Awareness Month.


Dr. Nutt attended the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Prom at Locust Grove High School. She also attended the ESE Parent Workshop held at the Henry County Learning and Support Center.


Dr. Nutt recognized Stephen Phillips from Locust Grove High School for being named the Regional Athletic Director of the Year.


Dr. Nutt celebrated the following Henry County School accomplishments:


  • Ola Middle School –

Track team won the County Championship

  • Ola High School –

VEX Team won the Excellence Award at the 2024 VEX State Championship.  This award qualified the team for the World Championship in Dallas, TX.

  • McDonough High School –

NJROTC won the U.S. Jr. Interscholastic-Intercollegiate Orienteering Championship

Other Awards:

  • 2024 USA Jr. National teams – 1st place
  • 2024 USA Jr. National Interscholastic Varsity Team – 2nd place


District 2, Annette Edwards (Vice Chair)

Mrs. Edwards recognized Cotton Indian Elementary for earning a HealthMPower grant in the amount of $5,000.


Mrs. Edwards celebrated Dutchtown Middle School Boys Track for the Track County Championship.

District 4, Sophe Pope (Chair)

Mrs. Pope recognized and celebrated all of the social media content and events that took place at our Henry County Schools during the solar eclipse on April 8th.



Mrs. Pope celebrated the following Henry County School accomplishments:

  • Oakland Elementary –

1st place 2024 Metro Atlanta Econ Games

  • Union Grove High School

Boys and Girls Tennis- 5A Region Championship


Mrs. Pope recognized Kelli Hutcheson for National Interscholastic Athletic Administrator’s Association State Award of Merit.