Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Local news

May 18, 2013

Crisp BOE names new CCHS principal

Cordele — Russell (Rusty) Sowell has been named new principal of Crisp County High School. Crisp Board of Education members approved his employment this past week.

Born in Savannah, Sowell moved to Tifton in eighth grade. He and his wife, Hope, have a six year old, Anna Bay, and his son, Myles, begins college in the fall.

Sowell holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Liberty University, a specialist in administration supervision from Georgia College and State University, a master’s and bachelor’s in physical education from Albany State University. He was one of three people nominated for “principal of the year” in 2012.

He has been in education for 22 years and in administration for 14 of those years. His experiences range from classroom teacher to assistant principal /instructional coordinator to principal.

One of the schools under his direction won the Georgia Office of School Achievement’s Platinum School Award for greatest gains, and he also holds the state superintendent’s Distinguished Achievement award in biology and economics. 

Sowell says he is excited about moving his family to Cordele. “I am looking forward to working with the staff to move Crisp County High School to the next level.

“I feel that God has blessed me immensely by putting me in this position, and I hope that I honor Him in how I lead and influence others.”

In addition to Sowell’s appointment, BOE members also rehired all school staff for the 2013-2014 school year.

Previously, they had approved the calendar for the coming year, but because some of the state funding for the pre-kindergarten program has been restored, O’Neal will be adding student and staff days, and that schedule has not been finalized. Acceptance of the new calendar was tabled until the June meeting.

Concerning the new school construction, Superintendent Dr. Rhonda Hayes informed board members that “great progress” has been made. Construction is about 75% complete, she said, and the project is on target for a September, 2013 completion date.

It’s noteworthy, Dr. Hayes added, that no money will have to be borrowed for the construction project. “You have all the necessary funds in hand,” she said.

Georgia’s Department of Transportation has announced it will place a flashing caution light at the Hwy. 300/Old Hatley Rd. crossing which board members were happy to  hear.

Dr. Hayes also reported that after a financial consultant looked at Crisp County’s budget and staffing, it’s likely that some of the work reduction days can be returned to staff. “Because of our healthy fund balance, it’s also likely that teaching staff can be added.

“We are looking at every line item to see where expenses can be reduced and revenue improved,” Dr. Hayes indicated.

During their meeting, BOE members recognized a number of student accomplishments with the presentation of certificates. Honorees included members of the high school CTI organization which won a number of state awards, the middle school tennis conference champions and all-state choir selections from both the high and middle schools.

Finally, replacement of the Southwestern Elementary gym floor was approved. A rubber substance will be used.


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