Maxwell Elementary School may be without its leader soon.
Pending approval from the McDuffie County Board of Education at its meeting tonight (Jan. 15), Maxwell Principal Hannah Fowler will be leaving her post at the school before the end of the school year to take a job with the Georgia Department of Education.
Maxwell Elementary Principal Hannah Fowler talks to a couple of students Tuesday.
Dr. Fowler has been the principal at Maxwell for seven years and has served as an educator in McDuffie County since 1979.
She recently accepted a job with the School Improvement Division of the state department. Her new title will be Region Two Team Lead: School Improvement Specialist for Analysis and Planning.
"We will be working with those schools that do not meet AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) and simply what the title says, analyzing what the problem is and helping them plan so that they can meet the needs of their students," Dr. Fowler said.
Georgia has been divided into four regions by the State Department of Education. McDuffie County is in region two, so Dr. Fowler will be overseeing school improvement within McDuffie County as well as surrounding counties.
"To be able to help and assist schools do the things that we've done here at Maxwell and have success with student learning, excites me," Dr. Fowler stated as the main reason for her move.
Reactions from school officials about Dr. Fowler's move have been varied. Most are pleased for her while at the same time anxious about finding a replacement.
"We have mixed feelings," said Superintendent of Schools Ed Grisham. "We certainly are pleased that they have that confidence in her and have asked her to this very big job, but at the same time we really hate to lose a tremendous school leader, and she will be greatly missed."
Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Gwen Rountree hopes that the measures in place to run the school in Dr. Fowler's absence will work well enough so that students and parents feel no disruption.
"We gave an excellent assistant principal who might serve as their interim during that time," Ms. Rountree said. "We also have personnel on board there at Maxwell who may assist in a quasi-leadership position."
During her time at the school, Dr. Fowler has seen Maxwell receive numerous awards including the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. She said she will miss Maxwell, but she won't be leaving McDuffie County altogether.
"It's bittersweet," Dr. Fowler said about changing jobs. "And I don't think of myself as leaving McDuffie County. It will always be my heart, and I will always be here.
"I'll definitely miss the smiles and the hugs from students. I will miss them running up to me and saying I made a 100 on my AR (Accelerated Reader) test, and the sparkle in their eyes, the excitement when they know they've done a good job."