The Liberty County Board of Education on Tuesday hired a new superintendent, and asked that she sign her contract and start on the spot.
Dr. Valya Lee was named superintendent of the Liberty County School System on Tuesday in a 6-1 vote with board member Becky Carter opposing during a 9 a.m. called meeting. There also is a called board meeting at 5 p.m. today to address personnel.
“Thank you so very much. I appreciate the vote of confidence that this board has given me, and I assure you I'm going to give you 1,000 percent and then some,” Lee said to the board. “Great things are going to happen in Liberty County schools.”
Board of Education Chairwoman Lily Baker said Lee was offered a three-year $170,000 contract.
“She's a visionary,” Baker said when asked what traits stood out in Lee. “I can see her moving us into the next dimension forward.”
Lee, a Fayetteville resident most recently employed with EduTax, was superintendent of Twiggs County Schools from 2010 to 2012, but she left the $140,000-per-year position due to spousal illness and a four-hour-commute, according to her application.
Previously, Lee worked from 2009-10 as assistant superintendent of Clayton County Schools, which has about 50,000 students. The prior year, she was interim superintendent for the same county.
Her teaching career began in 1992 at South West Atlanta Christian, according to her resume. Lee earned her doctorate in educational leadership in 2006 from Argosy University.
Board members Marcia Anderson, Harold Woods and Carolyn Smith Carter also spoke highly of Lee.
Because naming the new superintendent was not on the meeting’s agenda, the board voted to amend the agenda during the meeting. The members also voted to amend the agenda for discussions on contract employees’ additional days and board member concerns.
After Lee was named, she said her anticipated start date was July 1; however, the board asked her back into executive session, and it was following that closed-door meeting that Baker announced Lee was starting that day.
Other personnel matters also are hanging in the balance, as Deputy Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Conley, who has been interim superintendent since June 1, is one of two finalists for the top post in Treutlen County.
Treutlen County Board of Education Chairman Alvin Heath said June 12 that the board could vote as early as June 24, and he anticipates a decision this week.
The Treutlen board was scheduled to meet Tuesday evening after press time.
The board also withdrew approval of a combined bid that was approved June 11 for floor coverings at Midway Middle School and Liberty County High School.
The bid was approved pending verification of the scope of work and experience with Ace Floor Covering of Auburn, Ga.; however, company representative Thomas Jackson wrote that the company declined to move forward with the work due to "errors made in the bids."
Following the bid withdrawal, the board authorized two new bids with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Continental Flooring Company. The contract amount for Liberty County High School is $42,830. The amount for Midway Middle, which contains a larger area, is $65,990.
See Friday's Courier for more on Lee.