New principals are preparing to lead Chattahoochee County’s public schools.
Kenyada Heard replaces Lane Lindsay as principal of the Chattahoochee County Education Center, which is the district’s elementary school. Sandi Veliz replaces Jim Sims as principal at Chattahoochee County Middle/High School, the building for grades 6-12.
“They don’t officially start until the beginning of the fiscal year, July 1,” ChattCo superintendent David McCurry said Monday in a text message to the Ledger-Enquirer. “However, they are both already in the schools preparing for next year.”
Lindsay resigned to move elsewhere, McCurry said, and Sims replaces the retired Richard Cooley as the school district’s facilities and operations director. Cooley also had the title of assistant superintendent, but McCurry, who completed his second school year as ChattCo’s superintendent after serving as Cairo High School principal, said, “Typically, in school systems this size, the job is called director, not assistant superintendent. It’s just a more appropriate title.”
McCurry said he doesn’t plan to hire an assistant superintendent.
Heard, a 20-year educator, has been the guidance counselor for ChattCo’s elementary school the past nine years. Her most advanced degree is a specialist in educational leadership from Columbus State University.
“Mrs. Heard grew up in Talbot County, so she understands firsthand the challenges and the benefits of living and going to school in a rural community,” McCurry told the L-E in an email.
Heard’s impact has gone beyond her title as guidance counselor, McCurry said.
“She wore many hats and was very involved with the teaching and learning process in classrooms,” he said. “Mrs. Heard participated in a yearlong leadership development program here in ChattCo and has established herself as a quality leader.”
Veliz has worked in the school system 10 of the past 12 years as she moved away and returned to Fort Benning because of her husband’s military career. She has been a teacher, graduation coach, assistant principal and special-education director for ChattCo. Her most advanced degree is a specialist in educational leadership from CSU.
McCurry said Veliz has “demonstrated exceptional leadership skills. She has a passion for analyzing data and using that information to improve instruction. Mrs. Veliz’s experience as a military wife and mother is important for our high school. Sixty-five percent of the students in grades 9-12 are military dependents.”