Dooly Co. schools look to improve

Dooly Co. schools look to improve
Superintendent Julie Harrelson
Superintendent Julie Harrelson
Rasheeda Oglesby
Rasheeda Oglesby

VIENNA, GA (WALB) - Dooly County's new school superintendent says the system is working to correct a number of problems so they may keep their accreditation, at a hearing next month in Atlanta.

A recent review by an accreditation group placed the Dooly County system. In the "under review" category which is just one step away from the system losing its accreditation.
The superintendent remains confident that won't happen with the change and consistency are on the way for the school system.

Rasheeda Oglesby's daughter is a 5-year-old kindergartener in Dooly County. To say her education is important would be an understatement.

"Very important so she can go to college and do stuff I didn't do," said Oglesby.

But the school system she's in faces a serious problem. AdvancEd,  a nationally known accreditation group,  put them "under review" after their recent visit.

"We have lots of work to do. It would be great if we could freeze time for a few weeks," said Superintendent Julie Harrelson.

The review covered five categories ranging from use of technology to purpose and direction of the system. The lengthy review found that the school system had a lack of accountability and leadership within the schools.

"We have wonderful, wonderful kids and the difficulties we've had are not about our kids," said Harrelson. Harrelson took over as superintendent about a year ago and admits that use of technology in the classroom is an area that needs improvement.

The problems in the accreditation review don't surprise her. "It's not going to be fixed overnight. This is a process but I believe that things happen for a reason," said Harrelson.

Harrelson says that for the first time in a while, the high school is completely staffed, and while there is some opposition to change, most are on board with the improvements.

"We're going to be fine. It's actually an exciting time to be in Dooly County because we're sitting right on the cuff of just, I think, being great," said Harrelson.

"If she was able to go to college, oh lord, I just thank god so much and the school for helping her," said Ogelsby.

For that to happen these changes must be made.  Harrelson says there is still opposition and division amongst the school board.
The state school board will decide after a hearing next month whether to recommend Governor Deal should suspend the five Dooly County School Board members from office.

The school board's attorney says most of the complaints against the school system are made by former employees who were fired. The accreditation group came in April of this year.

Maurice King says the personnel moves were made in an effort to get everyone pulling in the same direction. "Because they couldn't get their way, what they want to do is to destroy the district. Mrs. Harrelson's job and my job and the board's job is to fight back against that type stuff."

King says that no matter what happens with AdvancEd, the district is still accredited by the Georgia Accrediting Commission, so students will graduate with a degree.

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