RCPS to see some staff changes

CONYERS – The Rockdale County Public Schools Board of Education has added a new executive position and named former Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement Gene Baker as chief of staff.

As chief of staff, Baker will be in charge of coordinating the implementation and completion of E-SPLOST IV projects. According to RCPS Community Relations Director Cindy Ball, Baker’s annual salary as the chief of staff will not change from what he currently earns, which is $115,616.94. The salary will be funded by E-SPLOST IV and federal E-rate funds, and will not affect the general operating fund, Ball said.

E-rate, a program that provides discounts to school systems to attain affordable telecommunications and Internet access, is run by the Federal Communications Commission. According to the FCC’s website, E-rate was mandated by Congress in 1996 and also provides telecom discounts to eligible libraries.

Ball stated that after reviewing the list of retirees this year, RCPS Superintendent Richard Autry decided to further explore the school system’s organizational structure and established a plan to sustain quality personnel to move the district forward — thus creating the chief of staff position. Baker will serve under this title for the next three to five years, and, in addition to overseeing E-SPLOST projects, will implement the RCPS strategic plan, which includes one-to-one technology, school choice options, enhanced security measures and facility projects.

“I look forward to leading the many initiatives that the community has supported through approving E-SPLOST IV,” said Baker. “My first order of business will be to form a community E-SPLOST committee. It is important we continue to have community engagement beyond the vote for E-SPLOST, especially as we embark on the implementation of new technology devices for all students and staff, and using technology to enhance security measures.”

The school board also approved other changes after meeting in executive session during its meeting April 24.

Retiring on July 1, Chief Academic Officer Leslie DeMarco will be replaced by Shirley Chesser, who currently serves as the school system’s director of professional learning. The chief academic officer is in charge of overseeing school specialty and choice options, student applicants for programs such as STEM and performing/visual arts and academic showcases.

In addition to the changes among the BOE staff, RCPS will welcome a newcomer to Conyers — Terrence Martin from Macon. He will be taking Baker’s place as the assistant superintendent for School Improvement. Martin, currently serving as the principal for Porter Elementary in Bibb County, will finish the academic year at the Macon elementary school before coming to RCPS. The assistant superintendent for School Improvement will manage the school system’s technology and software updates, along with gifted and advanced placement programs.