The Columbia County school board honored some of the system's highest scholastic achievers Tuesday.
During their regularly scheduled meeting, the board congratulated dozens of pupils, including the system's valedictorians, salutatorians, National Merit Finalists and the national champion Lakeside High School JROTC Drill Team.
"They are our top-performing kids as graduating seniors, and we've made it a practice of bringing them to (board) meetings this time of year" for recognition, Superintendent Tommy Price said.
The system's valedictorians are: Evans High senior Lauren Middleton, Greenbrier High senior Katherine Croft, Harlem High senior William Spurlin and Lakeside High senior Jian Huang.
Salutatorians include: Chelsea Shugars at Evans, Tiffany Adams and Tabatha Pilgrim at Greenbrier, Sarah Colgrove at Harlem and Yi Liu at Lakeside.
In other business, the school board filled a vacant assistant superintendent post from within the system.
The board voted unanimously to hire Riverside Elementary Principal Robbie Jarrell as its new Assistant Superintendent for Student Support, replacing Sandra Carraway. Carraway recently accepted a promotion to be the system's first Deputy Superintendent.
Jarrell is currently in his second year as principal at Riverside Elementary after serving as assistant principal of Greenbrier Middle. He said he is proud of his nearly 20 years of service with the school system and eagerly awaits his new role.
"I am looking forward to being part of the new, future administration and for what the future holds," he said. Jarrell was also the longtime band director at Lakeside High.
He will join the new administration lead by incoming Superintendent Charles Nagle and Carraway. Nagle, the current Associate Superintendent for Student Support, will replace Price on July 1.
Jarrell was selected over two other internal candidates, Price said.
On Thursday, school officials also announced that nine Columbia County school employees were reprimanded for their involvement in wrongdoing in pre-kindergarten lotteries. Letters were placed Wednesday into the personnel files of three administrators, five teachers and one paraprofessional at River Ridge and Martinez elementary schools, Price said.
The system recommended demotion for Sandra Black, the River Ridge Elementary School principal who had announced in April that she will retire at the end of the school year, Price said.
"Her retirement makes acting on that recommendation moot," he said.
Michele Sherman, the Greenbrier Elementary School principal, who was last year's principal at Martinez Elementary, and Karen Fischer, the Martinez Elementary assistant principal, also received letters, Price said. The letters warned them that any of their future actions involving a pre-K lottery could not be questioned, the superintendent said.
The investigation found that the administrators knew that teachers had folded their registration cards in last year's pre-K drawing, Price said.
Five River Ridge teachers and a teacher and a paraprofessional at Martinez also had letters placed into their personnel files.
The controversy surrounding the pre-K drawings surfaced in March after River Ridge parents complained that school personnel gained an unfair advantage in the lottery by folding their registration cards.
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