SPRINGFIELD — Even though schools are closed in Effingham County and the rest of the state, the Effingham County Board of Education is buzzing with activity.
During its April 1 meeting, the board OK’d several personnel moves, including naming Tim Hood and Travis Nesmith assistant superintendent. They were recommended for the position by current Assistant Superintendent Dr. Yancy Ford, who is set to replace retiring Superintendent Dr. Randy Shearouse on July 1.
“It’s so important — as a district-level cabinet team — that you formulate a team whose members trust each other, have a common vision and bring something different to the table that will help the district continue to move forward in the right direction,” Ford said. “With the cabinet that we have together consisting of Tim, Travis, (Executive Director of Human Resources) Susan Hartzog, (Finance Director), (Chief Operations Officer) and Ron Womack, I don’t know that you will find a harder working team that really wants to serve kids and serve teachers.”
Hood, currently the principal at Effingham County Middle School, is cut from the same cloth as Ford. They have worked closely together since the 1990s when they were coaches at Effingham County High School.
“You always want somebody who can be your right-hand man and get down in the trenches with you. Tim did that,” Ford said.
Hood served Effingham County High School as athletic director and assistant principal while Ford was principal there. He spent 11 years as athletic director.
“Tim is one of the hardest-working men that I know and have been around,” Ford said. “He has a desire to continue to make Effingham County better everyday. I hated to move him from Effingham County Middle School but — as Dr. Shearouse had trust in me — our partnership extended back many years and I wanted to fill my old position with someone of the same caliber, and I think I got that in Tim.
“He’s a good one.”
Hood appreciates Ford’s confidence.
“It’s not every often that you see people who stay together as long as we have,” Hood said. “He is actually the person who talked me into going back (to school) to get an advanced degree.”
Hood is excited about his new post but admitted that he will miss Effingham County Middle School after spending three years there.
“Obviously, it’s a very special place to me now because when I got there there was a lot of work to do,” Hood said. “We put together a strong team there that really stepped up to the plate. Those teachers and administrators there, from day one, believed in me and did everything I ever asked of them. I couldn’t tell you enough about what they did and their hard work.
“… I was very fortunate to be there. It was a blessing to have that opportunity and serve the community, also to get some experience at a different level of education because I had always been at the high school level.”
Nesmith has served the district in several roles. The former teacher is currently the director of Curriculum & Technology.
“Travis does so many things behind the scenes that have a direct influence on the instruction and curriculum of our county,” Ford said. “I just felt like it was important that I added him to our team (as assistant superintendent) as well. I have tremendous respect for him and Tim.”
In another move, Dr. Kirbi Ratner was named principal of Rincon Elementary School. She will succeed Dr. Paige Dickey, who is retiring.
“She started her career at Rincon Elementary and worked through the ranks to instructional coach and she was an instructional supervisor,” Ford said. “She has a passion for Rincon Elementary and, when you have a passion for a place and that’s really all you’ve known, you have a desire in your heart not to let people down because you care so much about that place. She brings a vast amount of knowledge from the curriculum side and she has a good team there in assistant principals (Melissa Long and Greg Manior).
“Her current assistant principals are a good team and I don’t foresee Rincon missing a beat. I think she will do a fantastic job.”
The board voted to move South Effingham Middle School Principal Brigid Nesmith to Effingham College and Career Academy. The charter school for grades 9-12 enables students to earn certifications in nursing, allied health, sports medicine, engineering,, robotics, web design, computer science, culinary arts, automotive technology and maintenance/logistics.
“One of the things that I think Brigid will bring to the table is that she went school wide with her STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) initiatives at South Middle this past year,” Ford said. “She had kind of started the process the year before. It’s STEAM, really, because she added the arts to it and the ag piece of it.
“She is going to bring excitement to the career academy. She will unite those two houses of the career academy to a point that we will be able to take our STEM initiatives and our CTAE (Career, Technical and Agricultural Education) initiatives, and blend them together and continue that process of being a STEM-certified school.”
Travis Dickey will succeed Hood as principal at Effingham County Middle School. He is currently an assistant principal at Effingham College and Career Academy.
Dickey also worked as an assistant principal and athletic director at South Effingham High School, and assistant principal under Hood at Effingham County Middle School.
“(Dickey) understands the changes that Mr. Hood initiated there and I think he will continue to move Effingham County Middle School forward,” Ford said. “I felt like it was important to put somebody in place there that had a background of what is going on at Effingham County Middle School because I feel like that’s what our teachers, our staff and our parents wanted.”