Oconee Regional Education Service Agency (RESA) is proud to announce that Oconee RESA Board of Control member Dr. Rickey Edmond recently received statewide recognition. The Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA) announced the recipients of the GSSA President’s Award at its spring Bootstrap Conference in Savannah, Georgia. These awards are given to superintendents for outstanding leadership in their school systems and communities. This year, GSSA recognized Dr. Rickey Edmond, the Superintendent of Washington County
Schools, for the 2021 Georgia School Superintendents Association (GSSA) President’s Award.
Dr. Rickey Edmond hit the ground running when he joined the Washington County School District as Superintendent July 2018. He took the first 100 days in his position to observe and create relationships within the schools and in the community. He held “Study Hall with The Superintendent” sessions and shared his vision and goals for the District.
Within the district, under his leadership the district formed SMART teams consisting of representatives from every level in the district. These teams are dedicated to working towards improving and keeping the district on track in reaching agreed upon goals.
Under his leadership the district adopted ‘Systems Thinking’ and narrowed its focus to what the district refers to as the Big 6. These are 6 areas that we are dedicated to improving and/or expanding. They are Public Relations and Marketing (telling our story), STEAM initiatives (becoming STEAM certified, Cyber Ready Seal, Robotics, Specialized Programming), Work Force Development, Leadership (building capacity), RTI/MTSS & SEL (Student Services & Parent Engagement), and Literacy.
He has led Washington County Schools to have a major digital presence through their website and on social media platforms that contains similar information to the callouts. They also utilize the local radio station with our weekly show, ‘Hawk Talk’. This enables them to showcase students, staff, programs, arts, academics, athletics, and share news with the stakeholders that use the radio as a form of news.
Dr. Edmond conducts one Zoom fireside chat a month for our parents/community stakeholders and one Zoom fireside chat a month for our teachers. The topics vary but there is always a question and answer session to encourage two-way dialogue between stakeholders. These Fireside Chats provide an open forum for all stakeholders.
When the pandemic impacted everyone in March 2020, Washington County Schools had to turn to digital platforms even more to communicate. Each week, on Friday afternoon, Dr. Edmond calls students, parents, and staff to give an update about the week. Dr. Edmond also looked for creative ways to serve virtual students and keep student numbers low in the building this year. Utilizing community partnerships, he was able to start a satellite classroom at the Boys and Girls Club and also had a local church open a “Wi-Fi Hotspot Academy.” These additional options were put into place to assist students with connecting and bridging the learning gaps.
Under his leadership, the District also spearheaded an afterschool program for remote students. It is another attempt to bridge some of the learning gaps that are occurring because of this pandemic. Another way to assist with connectivity issues for students was to park buses around the county with WIFI Hotspots. This gave students another area to go to connect and learn.