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New superintendent suits up for work
Lee already adjusting staff
Valya Lee
Dr. Valya Lee started work this week as superintendent of Liberty County schools. - photo by Photo provided.

In her second day on the job, Liberty County School System Superintendent Dr. Valya Lee made staff changes to the central office and two schools.
She also learned that one of her tasks will be determining whether to fill the deputy superintendent position. Deputy Superintendent Dr. Cheryl Conley, who for a month served as the interim superintendent following Dr. Judy Scherer’s retirement, will take over the top spot in Treutlen County, effective July 8.
Though Lee said during a called meeting Wednesday afternoon that the district-office organization chart still is in flux, she did recommend the board create a third assistant-superintendent position.
“The organizational chart has not been completed,” Lee said. “But what we do know is that we need to shore up our curriculum, instruction and professional learning in the district, and we want to be proactive in that regard, and that in no way impacts the other superintendents at this time.”
The board approved a job description for an assistant superintendent of teaching and learning, which will oversee the curriculum department.
The board convened in executive session for more than an hour before entering open session to vote on personnel recommendations.
The first was appointing Taylors Creek Elementary School Principal Dr. Debbie Rodriguez to serve as the interim assistant superintendent of teaching and learning.
The next was to move Snelson-Golden Middle School Principal Katrina Byers to Taylors Creek. The third was to place Tony Norce as principal at SGMS.
As the Courier previously reported, Scherer in February recommended that Norce’s contract as transportation director be renewed, but the board voted against the recommendation. In a later meeting, they voted to grant Norce a contract of equal pay and stature, but had not yet determined where he would be placed.

Conley’s departure
Conley will end a longstanding relationship with Liberty County schools next week, leaving a narrow window for a leadership transition and for Conley to pass on her institutional knowledge about Liberty’s 13 schools and ongoing capital projects.
Still, she said she is eager to take the next step in her career.

More on Lee
Lee spoke with staff members Tuesday morning while the Liberty County Board of Education convened in executive session.
She told Mary Alexander, the district’s assistant superintendent for student affairs, that she looks forward to getting to know the system and learning from its existing staff how best to move forward.
“I think a good thing is to come in and ask some pertinent questions, and get your feedback and thoughts on some issues, and then use those as a springboard to move forward,” she said to Alexander.
She said she has spent time touring the facilities and also discussed what attracted her to Liberty.
“First of all, it’s a high-performing school system, and a progressive school system as well,” she said. “Just even listening to the board today, it’s student-centered, it’s people-centered, it’s community-centered.
“The high achievement is attractive, but it’s obvious the resources are all geared toward student improvement.”
When asked whether she has any goals in mind for the district, Lee said the state’s College and Career Ready Performance Index scores indicate areas that could be improved, and she would like to focus on those.
Board Chairwoman Lily Baker said the board likely will hold two meet-and-greet opportunities with Lee. One will be for the education community, and another will be for the public. Dates are to be determined.

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