Sylvia Roland named Chair of the BOE, head football coach, Clifford Fedd is released from contract after one season

Published 12:10 pm Thursday, January 19, 2023

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Tracy K. Hall

After being rescheduled due to inclement weather, the Sumter County Board of Education (BOE) met for their regular meeting on Tuesday, January 18, 2023. To begin the evening, Superintendent Walter Knighton cleared the offices and took nominations for chair and vice chair of the board. Sylvia Roland won the vote with all BOE members voting in her favor except past chair Carolyn Hamilton, who abstained. Patricia Harris was unanimously voted in as vice chair.

After an executive session, the BOE voted to release head coach, Clifford Fedd, from his contract. Fedd has accepted a position as the head football coach for the Griffin-Spaulding County School System. In the 2022 season, the Panthers won one game and lost ten. It is unknown if or when the search for a new head coach will begin. Along with the coach, two others were released from contract, four resignations were accepted, four transfers were approved, two were hired and two long term substitutes were also hired.

In other business of the night the BOE voted for the firm of Piereira, Kirby, Kinsinger and Nguyen to serve as legal assistance on education related matters. The firm of Gatewood, Skipper and Rambo will serve as the local resource. The Americus Times Recorder will serve as the legal organ.

By way of a “for your information” Walter Knighton brought up the fieldhouse plans for athletes. Knighton reports the fieldhouse will “keep our athletes from having to travel over.” While the information was presented as an update, Knighton reports when it comes up, the BOE needs to be prepared to move quickly as they would like it in place for the next school year. Knighton also explained “we discussed for ten months about getting a fieldhouse and the students being transported.” The funding will come from local monies. While the fieldhouse will initially serve as the home team facility the plan is it will eventually serve the visiting team. Talk of the fieldhouse brought conversation on the improvements required of the middle school, many of the improvements being athlete related. What has not been revisited is the ongoing transportation issue Ignite CCA has been facing in getting their work-base experience students to their employment. Work-based learning is an integral part of the success of the CCA and earns the students graduation credits. This topic was addressed by Rick Barnes and Don Gilman in a meeting during the fall of 2022 but has not been mentioned in a public meeting since. In addition to Ignite and the athletic department raising the concern, a community input meeting has also identified transportation as an ongoing issue for Sumter County Schools (SCS).

Under committee reports, the HVAC construction management proposal was awarded to Parrish Construction. A program assistant for 4-H will be funded in part by the BOE.  Several Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) were approved to include partnership with Columbus State University for practical field experience and the Georgia Department of Education (GDOE) for Tier III comprehensive support and improvement. These services will be established in the intermediate and primary schools. This is needed as the schools were determined to be “borderline” in their scoring/performance. This is based on testing done by the state. The MOU is required because the GDOE needs to have the commitment of SCS to allow the interventions the state will provide. Thomas University Division of Education will be providing an option for leadership programing.

The 2023 calendar was approved. The next meeting of the BOE will be on Monday, February 6, 2023, at 6pm.  The regular meeting will be held on Thursday, February 9, 2023, at 7pm. To contact your elected official or learn more about our school system, please visit the SCS website at This month’s regular meeting may be viewed on the Sumter County Schools’ Facebook page.