Benning schools chief bids farewell Sept. 18

Superintendent Rapp will lead Japan District

benw@ledger-enquirer.comAugust 24, 2012 

Lois Rapp, the outgoing superintendent of schools at Fort Benning, said her last day at the post will be Sept. 18.

"I'm going to really miss our staff as well as students, families and a supportive command we have here," Rapp said Friday. "They truly care about our schools, reach out and are always available to help."

Rapp, who also oversees schools at Fort Rucker and Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, is leaving the post six weeks after this school year started to become superintendent of the Japan District, with 21 schools and 8,000 students. She has guided 10 schools in Alabama and Georgia, including six at Fort Benning, over the last 18 months. "I'm excited about the challenge as I go to Japan," she said.

No replacement has been selected, but the superintendent's job has been posted to be filled, she said.

Enrollment at Fort Benning schools ­-- six elementary and one middle -- is currently at 2,902, only eight students higher than the 2,894 served in 2011. Rapp noted that post schools could see a spike in enrollment in mid-September when the Custer Village housing area opens.

"We knew we would increase a little more with new housing that would come on," Rapp said.

The superintendent couldn't project how many students the post schools may add.

"We could pick up as much as 100 or so students," she said. "It could be 10 students."

So far there is less overcrowding at schools. Last year, Faith Middle School had 700 students but enrollment dropped to 633 this year. Stowers Elementary is full with 586 students and requires an assistant principal.

To improve facilities, Rapp said the district will break ground on a new McBride Elementary in 2013.

Construction will start on a new White Elementary in 2014.

Construction will follow on Loyd School in 2017. All the projects are based on available funding.

Rapp said she has enjoyed her stint at Fort Benning, and she is pleased with the performance of the schools.

"Seems like time has flown by," she said. "We have a system that is highly functional. We have highly caring staff members and it was a very tough decision to leave. I feel very much a part of the system here."

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