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Heading back to class
Teachers, administrators ready for the return of 8,000 students in 2013-14
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Richmond Hill Elementary School teacher Jean Grant is among more than 400 teachers working this week to get classrooms in order for the start of school on Monday. - photo by Jeff Whitte

The clock is ticking down fast to the start of the 2013-14 Bryan County school year.
Classes start Monday, the beginning of a 180-day calendar that won’t end until May for more than 8,000 students in grades pre-K-12.
The beginning of a school year is always an exciting time to be an educator, said Bryan County Schools Superintendent Dr. Paul Brooksher, who stressed safety and patience as everyone gets acclimated to the school year.
“All I ask is parents continue to work with us and be patient with us as we iron out the details,” he said. “It usually takes about a week or two to really iron everything out, but I think we’re going to be better this year than we were last year.”
Bus drivers, for example, have been working to get routes down.
“We’ve actually been paying for our drivers to come in and they’re running routes and checking out the times,” Brooksher said.
Teachers are also getting an extra day to prepare for the new school year after administrators decided to subtract a planning day from the end of school year and add it up front, giving teachers a full week to get ready for the new year ahead. The move proved popular among teachers, Brooksher said.
“They were very thankful. This is the first time teachers have had five days of preplanning, and they would much rather have the extra time at the beginning of the year to get ready for their students,” he said.
Also new are four new principals — Debi McNeal at Richmond Hill High School, Dr. Mike Tinney at Bryan County Middle School, Julia Gannam at Bryan County Elementary and Jeff Hodges at Lanier Primary.
“We’re very excited about the leadership they’ll bring the district,” said Brooksher, who is in his second year at the helm of a school system widely considered to be among the best in Georgia. “Hats off to the board of education for allowing us to do an exhaustive search for the best possible candidates. We’re very excited about what these principals add to our overall system.”
Brooksher also said the system isn’t resting on past laurels, which usually include lofty rankings among area and state districts.
“That’s still not good enough,” Brooksher said. “Our teachers are phenomenal in part because they’re always focused on doing more.”

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