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PJo Phelps honored at last meeting

Elbert County District 3 school board representative PJo Phelps, who is stepping down after serving 12 years on the board, said Monday night at her last board meeting that the entire school system staff is “giving every day to make a great school district.”

She thanked the board members she has served with over the years, which included the current school board members.

“I want to thank the voters of District 3 for electing me through the years and for voting in SPLOST for schools so we could do all the things we have done over the past 12 years,” said Phelps.

“PJo, from a leadership position, made important decisions to move this school district forward in tough times and good times,” said Elbert County School Superintendent Chuck Bell. “The old adage is she is leaving us in better shape than we were when she got here.”

“There were times when it would have been easy to vote another way,” said School Board Chairman Ben Baker of Phelps’ service with the school system. “She made the hard decisions to do the right thing. She is a friend and we are going to miss her on this board.”

Phelps received a plaque at Monday’s meeting that honored her for “Outstanding Service, Leadership And Ability Which Have Greatly Contributed To The Success Of The Elbert County School District.”

Phelps was first elected to serve on the school board in 2006.

She announced earlier this year that she would not seek re-election during the 2018 election cycle.

Phelps will be replaced as District 3 representative by Samantha Rucker.

Also honored at Monday night’s school board meeting was Elbert County School District Employee of the Month Bobby Cross.

Cross, who moved from being an Elbert County Primary School custodian to a position as a para-professional, received the employee of the month plaque from Bell and Elbert County Primary School Principal Rosa Harris.

The Elbert County School Board adopted a “workforce development initiative” Monday night to add to the school system’s strategic plan.

The school system intends to create partnerships between (Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) programs at the high school, Athens Technical College and local business/industries to provide high quality education and training programs.

The plan will involve:

• CTAE providing three electives toward a career pathway.

• Work-based learning in which 16-year-old students will have an opportunity to earn high school credits while working in an environment-related career pathway.

• Dual enrollment programs in which high school students can taking courses that earn college and high school credits.

• Creating a development partnership with Athens Technical College.

A collaboration with Athens Tech will include half-day training opportunities at the technical school, tours for students who might be interested in EMR (Emergency Medical Responder courses), welding, diesel, industrial systems or cosmetology and ATC hosting a science lab visitation with high school honors or AP science classes.

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