The Clinch Connection

Clinch County School System

Superintendent's Message

I am so excited for the new school year! It was great to see the students back in the buildings this week. Our teachers and staff have worked hard throughout the summer to prepare for a strong, safe start and we are looking forward to a fantastic year.

Last week, we welcomed our teachers back in true Clinch County style. Our guest speaker was Dr. Gayle Hughes who dedicated over 35 years to the Clinch County School System, serving her last eight years as superintendent. We ended the meeting with a Panther Pep Rally and a “war of the decades” two-bits competition. Even though the graduates of the 90s were the loudest, the Spirit Stick went to the graduates of the 70s! We are thankful for our wonderful group of Clinch Retired Teachers who served our breakfast. Pictures from the meeting can be found below and online at

As a school system, we are always striving to help “Grow Clinch!” Our goal is for students to be prepared for their next step – whether that is going straight into the workforce, enrolling in college, or joining the military. That journey begins when they enter our system in Pre-Kindergarten and continues until they walk across the stage at high school graduation. We have several new opportunities for our students this year. While this newsletter cannot capture all of the great things going on in our schools, a few programs are highlighted below.

It’s a great time to be a Panther! Let’s work together to improve our community and help “Grow Clinch!” If I can ever be of service to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Career Pathways Added

Did you know that Clinch County harvests more timber than any other county in Georgia . . . and Georgia produces more timber than any other state in the country? With that in mind, we have partnered with Coastal Pines Technical College to offer students a pathway in Timber Harvesting. Students enrolled in this pathway will take a year-long course of study where they will visit job sites twice a week. They will visit locations where crews are performing site prep, tree-planting, and logging; they will also make visits to woodyards, sawmills, and other timber related businesses. After completing the year long course, students will have the opportunity to take an additional course during the summer where they will be placed with a company to receive hands-on intern work experience. Upon completion of the courses, students can earn Master Timber Harvester Certification.

Click on the video below to learn more about this awesome opportunity for our students!

CPTC Timber Harvesting Short

In July, our administrators met with various leaders of Clinch County's timber industry to discuss the program and ways the school system can partner with these companies to graduate students with the skills they need for success. Clinch County community member Jim Stovall will be the facilitator for the timber harvesting program.

We have also partnered with Coastal Pines to offer a Salon Management/Shampoo Technician pathway. Local cosmetologist Daphne Browning Hendley will teach a year long course for students where they will learn state laws, rules and regulations, hair and scalp analysis, and shampooing techniques among other skills. Students will spend time between CCHS and Mrs. Hendley's local Salon Chique and Boutique located on Plant Avenue.

Finally, students will have the new opportunity to begin an Audio, Video, Technology, & Film pathway during second semester. Sean Mercer, current CCHS teacher, has spent weeks this summer being trained in teaching students the art of designing, exhibiting, recording, and publishing multimedia content. He was trained at the Georgia Film Academy in Fayetteville.

New Competition Events

While not a new pathway, our FFA students are planning to add livestock competitions to their list of events this year. Through a partnership with the Lee Family Foundation, we are planning for our students to have the opportunity to raise and show hogs. Mr. Dustin O'Neal took a few FFA students to the Georgia State Livestock show in Perry last spring to gauge student interest and we already have students ready for this new adventure! Not only will students learn about raising animals, participating in livestock competitions also teaches responsibility, showmanship, money management, patience and the value of hard work.

Our high school students will also have the opportunity to participate in archery competitions through the National Archery in Schools Program. The club will be sponsored by Renee Harris and Chad Jones, with the help of our CTAE instructors. If there is enough interest, we will add middle school students to the club in future years.

Welcome Back Pep Rally

Students Make Real World Connections in the Science Lab

Clinch Memorial Hospital provided our teachers the opportunity to participate in a hands-on Biotech Infusion training for rural middle and high school science teachers. CCHS teacher Mandy Fulton participated in the professional learning that was sponsored by the Georgia BioEd Institute. The training focused on how biotech exists in all science disciplines, from biology and chemistry, to healthcare and agriculture. Pictured below are Mrs. Fulton's students using micropipettes as part of a biotech infusion initiative. The lesson focused on chromatography: a laboratory technique for separating mixtures.

A Few Highlights from Spring Semester

We ended last school year on May 21 graduating 77 students. It was a year like no other, but even through the pandemic, our faculty and staff did an amazing job. Our students had a great second semester and ended the school year strong!

CCHS Students Compete at Region Literary

We are proud of our CCHS Literary students who competed at the region meet. Teachers Emily Kennedy and Betsy Griffis traveled with the students to the April event in Ocilla.

Girls Solo: Ashlynn Stalvey

Girls Trio: Ashlynn Stlavey, Keaton Nipper, Tynasia Reeves (2nd place)

Extemporaneous Speaking: Tatyana Cole

Dramatic Interpretation Duo: Taylor Kennedy, Thomas Kennedy (3rd place)

Argumentative Essay: Maddie McQuaig

Update on New School - Better Together!

In June, we approved JCI Contractors, out of Moultrie, Georgia, as the Construction Management firm for our new school. JCI and our architect firm, Altman & Barrett, have been collaborating to prepare plans to present to our board, faculty, and community. The architects took over 70 pages of notes during the programming phase where they received feedback from our faculty members. They are working to customize that feedback into our plans. Over the next 8-10 months, designs will be finalized and shared. Our timeline is to begin construction next summer (2022).

Separation of students is our number one priority. The school is being designed so PK-5 is completely separated from 6-12 and separation is also designed between 6-8 and 9-12. We look forward to expanded opportunities for our students with a new, state of the art school! #BetterTogether #GrowClinch

They're Coming Home!

We are excited about getting this school year started with many new faculty and staff members, several of whom are "coming home" from other systems!

Check out the "Back to School" slide show featuring our new staff members by clicking here:

New faculty and staff include:

  • Micajah Steedley - Micajah will be a busy man around our system as he will serve as a computer technician. We are excited about this recent graduate joining our team! Class of 2021
  • Kaitie Lee: Kaitie comes back to us from the Cook County School System and will serve as a special education teacher at CCMS. Class of 2017
  • Marissa Hayes: Marissa recently graduated from the University of Georgia and will serve as a CARES funded paraprofessional at CCHS. Class of 2016
  • Paige Humbers Lamie: Paige recently graduated from South Georgia State College with a Bachelors in Education. She will serve as a special education teacher at CCES. Class of 2015
  • Harley Thornton Johnson: Harley comes back home to us after having taught in the Lowndes County School System. She will teach physical science and ag science at CCHS. Class of 2012
  • Morgan Mattox: Morgan joins our team with over 6 years of classroom experience. She was selected as her school's Teacher of the Year in 2020. She will be a first grade teacher at CCES. Class of 2009
  • Kimberlee Landrum Wetherington: Kimberlee recently completed her second year in education, having worked in both the Elbert County and Crisp County School System. She will teach 5th grade at CCMS. Class of 2009
  • Brenton Grady: Brenton has been a familiar face in our schools for several years serving as substitute and bus monitor. He will be an intervention paraprofessional at CCEMS. Class of 2008
  • Jennifer Murray: Jennifer joins our team as a CARES funded paraprofessional at CCMS. Having served as a substitute for several years, she is a familiar face for our students. Class of 2008
  • Ginger Leccese: Ginger has a bachelors degree in accounting and is currently enrolled in Valdosta State University's MAT program with a concentration in middle grades math and science. She is teaching 6th grade at CCMS. Class of 2003
  • Cathy Spradley: Long time Clinch County native Cathy Spradley is joining our school food service department! We are glad to have her with us.
  • Kristi Dickerson: Kristi is definitely familiar with our school system as she retired after 30 years in 2019. Kristi will be one of our 49% Title I Intervention teachers at CCEMS. Class of 1984
  • Jim Dickerson - We have two life long Panther Leaders who will be teaching at our alternative school this year! Jim Dickerson will serve 49%. Class of 1983
  • Cecil Barber - Coach Barber will join Coach Dickerson as the other 49% teacher at our alternative school! We are excited to have these two coaches back with us this year! Class of 1970

We also welcome the following staff members to our Clinch County Family!
  • Dalton Wetherington: Dalton has served as a teacher in Clinch, Elbert, and Dooly County. He will be a PE teacher at CCEMS. While he did not graduate from CCHS, Panther Pride runs through his family!
  • Tonya Kersey - Tonya will serve as a math teacher at CCHS. She has 21 years experience in the classroom and comes highly recommended from our Clinch County friend and Jeff Davis High School principal, Greer Smith.
  • Willie Weeks - Willie comes to us as band director from Brooks County. He said he knew he wanted to work for Clinch County when we played Brooks in football last year!
Central Office, (912) 487-5321:

Lori James, Superintendent,

Denise Brown, Assistant Superintendent,

Jason Bell, Director of Operations,

Liane Register, Director of Finance,

Alison Smith, Director of Student Services

Clinch County Elementary/Middle School, (912) 487-5385:

Caroline Lankford, Principal,

Jared Hart, Assistant Principal,

Heather Bell, Assistant Principal,

Chase Daniel, Learning Coordinator*,

Clinch County High School, (912) 487-5366:

Jerri Lynn Spivey, Principal,

Susan Fortner, Assistant Principal,

Rance Morgan, Learning Coordinator*,

*our Learning Coordinators are funded through the federal CARES grant.

**Initial Release Date 8/6/21