HCS Board of Education Meeting – June 10, 2024

Posted by Sybil Barkley on 6/12/2024

HCS Board of Education Meeting – June 10, 2024

Board Member Items

Board Chair Sophe Pope provided an update on the Superintendent search. The Board has secured the Georgia School Board Association (GSBA) as the search firm to facilitate the search for our next Superintendent, and the search launched on April 1st. The application window closed on May 12th, and the application packets received were presented to the Board by the GSBA on May 28, 2024.  The Board is now using information received from the community survey analysis to review the applications. 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 graduating class of 2024 and their amazing accomplishments. A video highlighting the graduation ceremonies was shown and can be viewed here.



  1. Core Business of Student Learning 
    1. Back to School Preparations, Mary Ann Suddeth, Chief School Leadership Officer

Mrs. Suddeth provided an update on preparations for Back to School and began by recognizing end of year events such as the district’s retirement celebration and athletic awards. With many students transitioning to middle or high school, we  also recently graduated approximately 3,325 seniors who earned close to $63 million in scholarships. To prepare for next school year, district and school leaders participated in the Summer Leadership Conference and teachers have begun professional development with a focus on literacy. Our students are also engaging in Summer Learning Opportunities, with over 4,000 students participating. Our Be Ready Day One website is available for families to access back to school information, and the Here Comes the Bus app will be available on July 20th for families to access bus route information. Online registration for the Before and After School Enrichment Program will re-open for families on July 8th, and Kindergarten registration remains open. As a reminder, meal prices for the new school year is reflected here:

Breakfast at all levels: $1.40

Elementary Lunch: $2.65

Middle and High Lunch: $2.75 

We are looking forward to an exciting start of the school year, with Birch Creek Elementary opening their doors as the Blue Jays and Impact Academy transitioning to a standalone school as the Owls.

 Go ahead and mark your calendars for Open House on Tuesday, July 30th: 

Academy for Advanced Studies: 11:00 am-1:00 pm

High Schools: 1:00-3:00 pm

Middle Schools: 3:00-5:00 pm

Elementary Schools: 4:00-6:00 pm 


  1. Ensuring Operational Effectiveness 
    1. May 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 the playground being installed and punch list activities beginning. Furniture installation is ongoing, and the Certificate of Occupancy will be completed this week.

  1. School Electronic Message Signs

Installation of all electronic signs is completed at 17 elementary schools and 12 secondary schools. Training for school personnel will occur as the project nears completion.

  1. New Administration Office Facility

Installation of exterior window frames is ongoing and setting of the roof-top HVAC units are near completion. Underground fire and water main lines has begun, and steel erection is complete. Exterior brick placement has also begun.

  1. New Transportation Facility & Renovations to Existing Transportation.

Erection of framing and roofing for the main facility is nearing completion, and underground rough-in of plumbing and electrical for the main site is nearing completion.

  1. HVAC Cooling Tower Replacement

This is on schedule for Austin Road Elementary and East Lake Elementary, with installation of the new towers to be completed by the end of June.   


    1. May 2024 Financial Reports, Mr. Jeff Allie, Acting Chief Financial Officer 
  1. May 2024 Financial Report
  • General Fund Assets and Total Cash on Hand - The total value of general fund’s assets at the close of May totaled $174.5 million, while Cash on Hand across all funds during reporting period totaled $418 million.
  • E-SPLOST V There were no expenditures during the month of May.
  • E-SPLOST VI - There were expenditures of $6.7 million in the month of May. 
  • Capital Accumulation - There were expenditures of $704,939 with investments in Safety and Security infrastructure and furniture growth and replacement being the key drivers in the month of May.
  • ESSER Funds- There were no expenditures incurred in May.


    1. School Calendar for 2025-2026, Mrs. Summer Cox, Chief of Staff

Ms. Cox presented a proposed school calendar for 2025-2026, with 175 instructional days and a school start date of Thursday, July 31, 2025. The calendar is available for public comment here. 

    1. HCBOE Policies, Mrs. Summer Cox, Chief of Staff
        1. HCBOE Policy JCAC: Sexual Harassment of Students
        2. HCBOE Policy JAA: Equal Educational Opportunities
        3. HCBOE Policy GAAA: Equal Opportunity Employment
        4. HCBOE Policy GAEB: Sexual Harassment of Employees

Ms. Cox presented information on proposed revisions to Board Policy JCAC: Sex-Based Harassment, Board Policy JAA: Equal Educational Opportunities, Board Policy GAAA: Equal Opportunity Employment, and Board Policy GAEB: Sex-Based Harassment of Employees. These proposed revisions are recommended to align with the new federal rules regarding Title IX, and are available for public review and comment here. The Board will take action on the proposed revisions at the July board meeting.



  1. HCBOE Collective Commitment to Code of Ethics (Policy BH) and GSBA Georgia State Standards for Effective School Boards

The Board of Education adopted the HCBOE Code of Ethics, GSBA Georgia State Standards for Effective School Boards, and the Superintendent-Board Norms and Protocols with a vote of 5 to 0.


  1. HCBOE Policy GAE: Complaints and Grievances

The Board of Education approved the recommended changes to Policy GAE with a vote of 5 to 0.



  1. Worker’s Compensation Panel of Physicians

The Board of Education approved the worker’s compensation panel of physicians with a vote of 5 to 0.


  1. FY24 Defeasement of Bond Debt

The Board of Education approved the FY24 Defeasement of Bond Debt with a vote of 5 to 0.


  1. FY25 Procurement Contracts

The Board of Education approved the FY25 Procurement contracts with a vote of 5 to 0.


  1. Addition to Ola Middle School Bid Tabulation

The Board of Education approved the addition to Ola Middle School bid tabulation with a vote of 5 to 0.


  1. New Transportation Facility/Renovation of Existing Furniture Purchase

The Board of Education approved the furniture purchase for the new transportation facility and renovation of existing furniture with a vote of 5 to 0.



Inspiration for the June Board Meeting was provided by Dutchtown High School Students: Michael Armstrong and Joshua Peek.  The students performed the song, “Lovely Day”. Dutchtown High School’s principal is Ms. Nicole Shaw.

 DHS Inspiration


View full photo album

Georgia Department of Education Poster Contest

Henry County Schools has a 3rd place winner for Division 2 of the GaDOE poster contest.


  • Cooper Erwin

-       Dana Flowers, Principal

Cooper Erwin

New York City Transportation Bureau Challenge Coin

Lailah Metallo is a 3rd year Graphic Design Student at the Academy for Advanced Studies. Within the last year Lailah has produced a stunning portfolio of work which includes designs that have placed her 3rd in the State for Graphic Design and 2nd in the Regionals of Georgia Skills USA. Her designs have also been featured through the rebranding of the seal of the Henry County Police Department. Recently her work caught the attention of the New York City Police Department who reached out to the Academy to have her design a challenge coin for their Transportation Bureau. Lailah is a true definition of the outstanding work that comes out of the Academy for Advanced Studies and a true definition of what it means to be exceptional at Henry County Schools.


·       Lailah Metallo

-       Douglas Blackwell, Principal

NY City Transportation

Georgia Council on Economic Education’s Stock Market Game

The Georgia Council on Economic Education coordinates the Stock Market Game every fall and spring for students in grades 4-12 throughout all of Georgia. The Stock Market Game is a simulation which challenges students to invest a virtual $100,000.00 in real stocks for 10 weeks. The team that earns the most equity in each grade level (Elementary, Middle or High) at the end of 10 weeks is declared the winner. A team of students from Woodland Middle School were the spring Middle School Winners. Led by coach Angela Murphy, team members are:

Randy Jones

·       Celina Gibson

·       Payton Poythress

·       Darius McDonald

·       Henry Dearing

-       Michelle Wilkerson, Principal

-       Angela Murphy, Coach


Stock Market Game


2024 High School VEX Robotics World Championship

Ola’s VEX Robotics Team had an outstanding performance at the 2024 High School VEX Robotics World Championship in Dallas, Texas in April. The team was one of 820 that qualified out of over 13,000 teams from more than 45 countries. In match play, Ola paired with a team from Ohio to win the Math Division, earning them a spot to compete against nine other teams in the Championship Dome Arena.  This is the first time in the district’s history that a team has won their division at worlds and competed in the dome. The team also posted a Skills Score that put them in the top 3% of competitors and they won the Math Division Amaze Award.


·       Carson Schmitt

·       Dustin Pouliot

·       Jayla Brown

·       Sebastian Cedeno

·       Katherine Mangual

·       Conner Middlebrooks

·       Makenzie Middlebrooks

·       Asha Pandya

·       Karina Pandya

-       Nick Ellis, Principal

-       Christie Schmitt, Coach


VEX Robotics


2024 National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA) State Award of Merit

Kelli Hutcheson, CAA, District Director of Athletics at Henry County Schools, received the 2024 NIAAA State Award of Merit. Kelli has completed 12 NIAAA Leadership Training Courses, displaying her commitment to professional development. She serves on the Georgia Athletic Director’s Association Board as 1st Vice President and is on the National Athletic Director Conference Advisory Committee. She is in service to the Georgia High School Association as a member of the Board of Trustees. In her home state, Kelli was a founding member of the Georgia Cheerleading Coaches Association. She stayed involved and served on the board for 15 years. She also authored the Cheerleader and Coach of the Year recognition programs and developed funding to provide scholarships and gifts for the recipients.


·       Kelli Hutcheson

Kelli Hutcheson

2023-2024 Winter Sports Player of the Year

Following are the Winter sports Players of the Year:


Dutchtown High School

·       Joah Chappelle - 5A Boys Basketball Region Player of the Year

-       Nicole Shaw, Principal

J Chappelle

Union Grove High School

  • Jordan Brooks - 5A Girls Basketball Region Player of the Year
  • Ryan Meeks, Principal


Woodland High School

·       Mason Lewis - 5A Boys Basketball Player of the Year

-       Purvis Jackson, Principal

M Lewis

2023-2024 Winter Sports Coach of the Year

Following are the Winter sports Coaches of the Year:


Dutchtown High School

  • Wallace Corker - Boys Basketball Coach of the Year

-       Nicole Shaw, Principal


Luella High School

·       Jaime Henck - County Swim Coach of the Year

-       Brandi Hardnett, Principal

J Henck 

Stockbridge High School

·       Demarcus Acree  - 5A Girls Basketball Coach of the Year

-       James Thornton, Principal


Union Grove High School

·       Dock Gammage - 5A Girls Basketball Region Coach of the Year.

*also the recipient of the 2024 Chuck Miller Legacy Award.

 - Ryan Meeks, Principal

Dock Gammage


2023-2024 Spring Sports Player of the Year

Following are the Spring sports Players of the Year.


Dutchtown High School

·       Savannah Callaway - 5A Girls Soccer Offensive Player of the Year

·       Briana Hill - 5A Girls Soccer Midfielder Player of the Year

·       Caleb Cousins - 5A Boys Soccer Midfielder Player of the Year

·       Averie Shamsid-Deen - 5A Girls Soccer Defensive Player of the Year

·       Zoe Lavender - 5A Girls Soccer Co-Goalkeeper Player of the Year

·       Kasaun Simpson - 5A Boys Soccer Forward Player of the Year

-       Nicole Shaw, Principal

S Callaway
B Hill

C Cousins
A S-Deen
Z Lavender

K Simpson


Eagle’s Landing High School

·       Zacklee Pheng - 5A Boys Tennis Player of the Year

-       Kesha Jones, Principal

Z Pheng


Locust Grove High School

·       Logan Seigle - 5A Girls Soccer Co-Goalkeeper Player of the Year

·       Phillip Perry - 5A Boys Soccer Defensive Player of the Year

-       Tony Townsend, Principal

L Seigle 
P. Perry

Ola High School

·       James McGee - 5A Baseball Player of the Year

·       Braden Pourron - 5A Pitcher Player of the Year

·       Meredith Wesley - Gymnastics Player of the Year

-       Nick Ellis, Principal


Union Grove High School

·       Chloe Johnson - 5A Girls Tennis Player of the Year

-       Ryan Meeks, Principal


2023-2024 Spring Sports Coach of the Year

Following are the Spring sports Coaches of the Year.


Dutchtown High School

·       John Zeiler - 5A Boys and Girls Soccer Coach of the Year

·       Natoria Shine - County Gymnastics Coach of the Year

-       Nicole Shaw, Principal

J Zeiler
N Shine

Eagle’s Landing High School

·       Tombo Berete - 5A Boys Soccer Coach of the Year

-       Kesha Jones, Principal

T Berete

Luella High School

·       Jeffrey Lake - 4A Boys and Girls Tennis Region Coach of the Year

-       Brandi Hardnett, Principal

J Lake

Principal Retirement

The Board would like to recognize Dr. Jessalyn Askew, Principal of Bethlehem Elementary School. Dr. Askew has served Henry County Schools for 22 years. Dr. Askew received a “game ball” for her years of leadership, and unconditional commitment to the students, parents, teachers and staff of Henry County Schools.


J Askew 





New Position

Previous Position

Dawn Blackwell*


Hickory Flat Elementary


DeKalb County School District

Yuanita Gilbert*

Employment Services Coordinator

Human Resources

Employment Onboard Facilitator

Human Resources

Roderick May*

Instructional Systems Facilitator

Leadership Services

Assistant Principal

Ola High School

Teisha Waller*

Assistant Principal

Impact Academy


Union Grove High School

SeTia Freeman


Bethlehem Elementary School

Assistant Principal

Oakland Elementary School

Chere’ Lewis


Eagle’s Landing High School


Wilkinson County School District

LaTonya Richards


Union Grove High School


Rockdale County Public Schools

Natasha Simpson

Assistant Principal

McDonough High School

Assistant Principal

Clayton County Public Schools

    *Asterisk denotes approval at the May 28, 2024 Special Called Board Meeting



District Board Member


District 1, Dr. Pam Nutt

Dr. Nutt recognized Kyla Rose from Luella High School and Angel Rivas from Hampton High School for receiving the 2024 Henry County Master Gardener scholarship.


Dr. Nutt recognized Coach Jamie Henck from Luella High School for being named Henry County’s Swim Coach of the Year.


Dr. Nutt showed appreciation for the HCS SRO’s for keeping us safe.


Dr. Nutt congratulated the Class of 2024, and she wished them well in their endeavors.

District 2, Annette Edwards (Vice Chair)

Mrs. Edwards congratulated Samantha Dalby from Woodland High School for her participation in the International Science & Engineering Fair in California.


Mrs. Edwards showed appreciation to the HCS “blue shirts” and Atlanta Motor Speedway for supporting a successful graduation ceremony.

District 3, Holly Cobb

Mrs. Cobb congratulated the Class of 2024, and she showed her appreciation for the staff who worked behind the scenes to support graduation ceremonies.


Mrs. Cobb recognized Albany Robinson from Union Grove High School, Keenan Gray from McDonough High School, and Carrington Jones from Eagle’s Landing High School for receiving the State Positive Athlete award.


Mrs. Cobb recognized June as being National Safety Month, and she expressed her gratitude to the SROs for keeping everyone safe.

District 4, Sophe Pope (Chair)

Mrs. Pope showed her appreciation for the board members attending the GSBA Conference and representing Henry County Schools.


Mrs. Pope congratulated the following HCS track and field athletes for winning individual state championships:

  • Dominiq Worthington (WHS) – 110 Hurdles
  • Daynejia Atkins (SHS) – Shot Put/Discus
  • Laila Stowe (UGH) – 100 Hurdles
  • Mattison Rowell (WHS) – 100 Hurdles


Mrs. Pope congratulated the Class of 2024 graduates, and she showed her appreciation for the staff who worked behind the scenes to support graduation ceremonies.


District 5, Mackenzie McDaniel

Mr. McDaniel recognized London Coe from Dutchtown High School for being the first gymnast from Dutchtown to compete at the state gymnastics meet.


Mr. McDaniel congratulated the Class of 2024, and he wished them well in their endeavors.


Mr. McDaniel announced that there will be several camps in the community this summer:

        1. Youth football camp hosted by Dutchtown alum Will Anderson will be held on June 29th at JP Mosely Park. (9am – noon for ages 6-11; 4pm – 7pm for ages 12-16)
        2. Hampton cluster will hold 5th annual tennis camp on June 17th – 20th.  (8am – 10 am for ages 5-12; 10 am – 1pm for ages 13-19)
        3. Hampton Swim team will be hosting a swim clinic at the Clayton County Aquatic Center on July 8th – 11th from 9am - 11am.