The Muscogee County School Board honored two retiring members of the superintendent’s cabinet during Monday night’s meeting:
▪ Melvin Blackwell, the Muscogee County School District’s chief student services officer.
▪ Susan Taunton, MCSD’s audits director.
Blackwell has worked in MCSD for 20 years, including as a teacher at Arnold Middle School, an assistant principal at Columbus High School and principal of now-closed Marshall Middle School. He has been student services chief for the past six years.
According to the board’s proclamation, Blackwell serves on the Mayor’s Commission for Crime Prevention, the Mayor’s Commission for Unity, Diversity and Prosperity, and the Youth Advisory Council of Columbus. He also serves as a member of the Delta Iota Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and as vice president of the United Methodist Men at St. Marys Road United Methodist Church.
Taunton has worked in MCSD for 29 years, first as internal auditor for 20 years, then as audits director for the past nine years.
According to the board’s proclamation, Taunton “has been an integral link to the Governmental Auditing Systems of Georgia and has led the school district through several serious financial auditing situations.”
After reading both proclamations, which the nine-member board approved unanimously, superintendent David Lewis praised Taunton and Blackwell.
Lewis said Taunton “takes her work very seriously. … I could not be more appreciative of her effort, and I know I speak on behalf of all the board. So thank you, Susan, for your years of service.”
The superintendent called Blackwell “among the most caring and genuine educators. … Thank you for your years of service.”
As she thanked the board, Taunton said, “I’m very honored. I’ve enjoyed my career with MCSD, and I hope I leave with a good reputation and people understanding the mission that I have as the internal auditor.”
Then she read a quote summarizing that mission: “It is never right to do wrong, and it’s never wrong to do right.”
Blackwell also thanked the board – and God -- “because it’s all about service, and He’s allowed me to serve. … Wherever He took me, He always placed me in an area where I could receive support, because no one can do it alone.”
Combined with assistant superintendent Rebecca Braaten’s resignation announced Thursday, Lewis will have one-fourth of the 12-member cabinet to fill this summer.