• After going back and forth since September over the necessity of a tax anticipation note, Hall Superintendent Will Schofield announced Monday that $5 million out of a potential $9.5 million has been borrowed.
“Tax revenues were coming just a little slower than we had hoped,” Schofield said. “The last thing we want to do is come up short on payroll this month, so we did access the first $5 million.”
He said he anticipates that will be paid back in 30-45 days. The school board had initially approved issuing a tax anticipation note if needed at its September voting session.
• The Hall Board of Education approved opening 20 seats next school year at North Hall Middle School’s Earhart-Edison Academy.
The program is in its infancy this year, home to 73 North Hall Middle sixth-grade students. The extra seats will be open via an application process to outside students in the Hall school system, placing the academy on the road to becoming a full-fledged program of choice for the system.
• The county school system is looking at a new program called Gaggle to monitor digital interactions between students and teachers.
The system would filter, track and archive all emails and text messages between students and teachers.
“We have our teachers who are communicating and working with the kids, where they are and in a language that they respond to,” said Aaron Turpin, executive director for technology. “They’re texting on their personal phones to student personal phones. They’re texting from their Hall County email to students’ Hall County email.”
School board members advised Turpin to pilot the program in a few places in the school system to get feedback from principals and teachers.
By Carly Sharec
West Hall High School principal Greg Williams has announced his retirement, effective Nov. 29.
In the interim, he will be replaced by current West Hall High assistant principal Scott Justus, who will serve as principal for the remainder of the year. The issue was voted on and approved by the Hall County Board of Education at its Monday meeting.
Hall Superintendent Will Schofield said the November retirement would provide for a “seamless” transition.
“Greg has done a great job at West Hall High School,” Schofield said. “He just is at a stage in his life where he’d like to look at some other options. I have talked to a number of members of that faculty, a number of members of that community, and the most seamless opportunity for us, I believe, (will be) in November.”
Williams is retiring after beginning his career in education in 1981 at Dawson County High School. In 1983, he began teaching and coaching at North Hall High, his alma mater.
He became assistant principal and athletic director of West Hall High in 2004, and was named principal in 2010.
“I love West Hall, from the bottom of my heart,” he said. “It is a great community and a wonderful school, and I’ll miss it dearly.”
He said midyear was a good time for retirement, with the holiday break serving as a transition period. The spring is a “huge planning time” for the following school year, Williams explained, so it makes sense for him to retire at this point rather than waiting for the end of the year.
Williams said he does not have a decisive plan for the future, but he plans to remain in the field of education.
“I’m just going to catch my collective breath,” he said. “I’m still pretty young and I know I want to continue in this business. I’m just going to step back and catch my breath and re-evaluate and see what happens next.”
Justus has been employed by the Hall County School District for 18 years, beginning as a teacher and coach at North Hall High.
He said he looks forward to the coming month, getting acclimated to the position under Williams’ tutelage.
“I’m humbled, I’m excited, and I’m just grateful for this great, great chance to lead the community of West Hall High School,” Justus said. “I look forward to the journey.”