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Fort Benning teachers, staff kick off new school year

There was a buzz in the air as teachers, administrators and support personnel with Fort Benning schools filed into the Faith Middle School auditorium Aug. 2 for the Back-to-School Celebration.

Bruce Jeter, director of Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools, said he noticed it — “when the students return, that same buzz is going to be there.”

“You have an awesome responsibility and task ahead of you,” he said to the more than 250 staff members gathered for the annual kickoff event. “I know you’re up to the challenge and I know you’ll do well.

The veteran teacher and administrator congratulated staff members for their past efforts and encouraged them to continue supporting military children by focusing on leadership, humor, positive attitudes and a variety of teaching methods.

The celebration is a way “to get us motivated for the new year, to remind what we did right last year, what things we need to do differently,” said Dr. Fordyce Stone, acting superintendent.

“Our school improvement process is continuous. We have goals every year; we have to take actions on those goals. But there’s always a need to celebrate … because what these people did last year was phenomenal,” said Stone, referring to the successful 10-school accreditation last spring.

“I’ve never been a part of something that dramatic in space of a one-year time.”

A new school year will bring new challenges, he said, but the Fort Benning team can pull through with teamwork.

“It’s all about … partnership. If we don’t do that then things are not going to be as productive, things aren’t going to happen with the children as fast or as well,” he said. “So that’s one of my goals … a lot of good communication, a lot of good interaction.”

Attendees also had the opportunity to meet 33 faces new to Fort Benning, including assistant superintendent Sue Burdick, as teachers and staff arrived from as far afield as Minnesota and Guam.

“I’m very pleased to be a part of this organization,” Stone said. “We’re looking forward to the school year. It’s going to be a great year.”