New George P. Austin principal addresses Linden BOE

Published 3:18 pm Tuesday, July 18, 2023

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New George P. Austin Middle School principal, Tonya Starks, spoke during the July 10 board meeting to report on how she is settling into her new position.

Starks described the school’s environment as “fantastic” and thanked the Board for allowing her the opportunity to serve as principal. Starks was hired by the Board at its June meeting. Prior to being hired, Linden Mayor Gwendolyn Rogers served as the middle school principal.

Superintendent Dr. Timothy Thurman said that plans for a new high school are still in the works. The school system recently received an “A-minus” rating and went to the bond market on July 18. The new high school will be built near the football stadium on what was known as the old Fun Factory property.

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Thurman also reported that the school system’s preliminary ACAP scores as well as ACT scores have been received. He said that he sees “areas of improvement” but that none of the numbers have fallen from last year.

However, Thurman was disappointed in the ACT scores as they “were not where he wanted them to be.” He said the school is pushing its students toward career tech, but the state is pushing students toward the ACT and that “not everyone wants to go to college.” Thurman said he wasn’t completely surprised by the scores, but was expecting them to be higher than what they were.

Action Items:

  • The Board hired JoAnn Smoot Bryant as Math Coach as Linden Elementary
  • The Board hired Brenethia Powell as fifth grade teacher at LES
  • The Board hired Sheila Adams as Kindergarten Teacher at LES
  • The Board hired Tretina Landrum as Special Ed Teacher at George P. Austin Middle School
  • The Board transferred Delandra Gamble from Special Ed at GPA to LES
  • The Board accepted the resignation of Meagin Hinton as Special Ed Teacher and Head Softball Coach at GPA