Education

This Columbus principal is retiring, and here’s who is likely to take her place

Here’s how you can contact your Muscogee County School Board member

The Muscogee County Board of Education is the elected governing body of the Muscogee County School District. The school board consists of nine members. Eight of the members are elected from districts. One is elected at large.
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The Muscogee County Board of Education is the elected governing body of the Muscogee County School District. The school board consists of nine members. Eight of the members are elected from districts. One is elected at large.

A Muscogee County School District principal has retired, and the successor has been recommended.

Renee Tharp is leaving Dawson Elementary School, and the new principal is likely to be Cheryl Hampel, Reese Road Leadership Academy assistant principal. The school board is scheduled to vote Monday on Hampel, which is Superintendent David Lewis’ choice to fill the vacancy.

Tharp was Dawson’s principal for six years. Her 30-year career in MCSD also includes teaching at Double Churches Elementary School from 1990 to 2008 and serving as assistant principal of Fox Elementary School from 2008-13.

Hampel has been an educator for 19 years, all with MCSD. She started in January 2000 as a teacher at Eastway Elementary School, now Lonnie Jackson Academy. She was an academic coach in all content areas at St. Marys Road Magnet Academy from 2008-14 and an academic coach in math and science for the district’s east region from 2014-16.

She became an administrator in 2016 and was the academic dean for one year at Dawson before moving to Reese Road as assistant principal in 2017.

Hampel earned all of her higher-education degrees at local institutions:

  • Educational leadership certificate from Columbus State University in 2014
  • Specialist’s degree in early childhood education from Troy University-Phenix City in 2007
  • Master’s degree in middle grades education from CSU in 2001
  • Bachelor’s degree in medical technology from Columbus College, now CSU, in 1993
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Ledger-Enquirer staff writer Mark Rice covers education and other issues related to youth. He also writes feature stories about any compelling topic. He has been reporting in Columbus and the Chattahoochee Valley for more than a quarter-century. He welcomes your local news tips and questions.
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