The Muscogee County School Board unanimously approved the hiring of four directors during its monthly meeting Monday night.
Mercedes Parham, the marketing and media manager for the Columbus Museum since 2014, replaces Valerie Fuller as the Muscogee County School District’s communications director. Fuller, who was MCSD’s communications director for 10 years, announced her resignation in July for an undisclosed job out of town.
Capri Gunn Baptiste, who retired this month from the U.S. Air Force and most recently was budget integration chief at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, replaces Michi Billings as MCSD’s budget director. The position has been vacant for more than a year, since Billings resigned, MCSD human resources chief Kathy Tessin told the Ledger-Enquirer.
Edwin Joseph, senior buyer and planner since 2008 for Professional Experience Audiocodes in Somerset, N.J., replaces Amy Callahan as MCSD’s purchasing director. Callahan is retiring Dec. 1, Tessin said.
Kenya Gilmore, the academic dean at Double Churches Middle School the past three years, replaces Tammi Clarke as MCSD’s director of Project AWARE and PBIS. Clarke resigned Oct. 13, Tessin said. Clarke told the Ledger-Enquirer that she took a position with the Georgia Department of Education to do similar work supporting multiple school districts.
Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) is a five-year federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency that was awarded to the Georgia Department of Education in September 2014. The purpose is to increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth; provide training in Youth Mental Health First Aid; and connect children, youth, and families who may have behavioral health issues with appropriate services. (SAMHSA, Center for Mental Health Services, 2015).
PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) is an evidence-based, data-driven framework proven to reduce disciplinary incidents, increase a school’s sense of safety and support improved academic outcomes.
Before working for the Columbus Museum, Parham was a program assistant for community and leadership development at the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce from 2009-13. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communications studies from the University of Georgia in 2009.
Baptiste’s 13-year financial management career in the Air Force also includes serving as financial services flight commander, financial analyst, comptroller and command financial management inspections chief. She earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Spelman College in 2004 and a master’s degree in business administration and management from Boston University in 2010.
Joseph’s previous work experience includes utility supply specialist (1995-200) and supervisor (2000-02) for Miami Dade Water & Sewer in Miami, Fla., and warehouse supervisor (2002-03) and purchasing supervisor (2003-08) for Turtle and Hughes Integrated Supply Division in Linden, N.J. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Kean University in Union, N.J. His resume doesn’t denote the year her graduated.
Gilmore has been an educator for 15 years. She was a counselor at Harris County Carver Middle School from 2002-03 and Double Churches Middle School from 2003-12 and guidance director at Double Churches from 2012-14. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Georgia in 1998, a master’s degree in school counseling from Columbus State University in 2002, a specialist’s degree in school counselor from CSU in 2005, a doctoral degree in school improvement from the University of West Georgia in 2015 and an educational leadership certificate from West Georgia in 2016.
No discussion preceded the board’s votes on these recommendations from superintendent David Lewis.