Medders Hired as Assistant Superintendant, In-Person Graduations Still Planned

On Thursday night, the Troup County Board of Education voted unanimously to promote Chief Human Resource Officer Dennis ‘Chip’ Medders to Assistant Superintendent of Maintenance and Operations.

Medders is stepping into the position vacated by long-time Assistant Superintendent John Radcliffe, who recently retired.

Due to budget constraints the school system doesn’t plan to immediately hire a full-time replacement for Medders as HR director. For the meantime, the board voted to hire former Gardner Newman Middle School Principal Derek Pitts as a part-time Interim Chief Human Resource Officer.

School Superintendent Dr. Brian Shumate announced during the meeting that they are still moving ahead with plans to hold in-person commencement ceremonies in July. Though the school system recently held virtual graduations for all three public high schools, with videos of the ceremonies still available online, many students and parents wanted to be able to participate in the traditional graduations at Callaway Stadium.

As of now, in-person graduation ceremonies are still being planned for July 23, 24, and 25 at 8:30 a.m. in Callaway Stadium.

Students will be spread out and the school system is buying masks for all students. Seating will obviously be limited due to ongoing physical distancing recommendations. They will also work to prevent large groups congregating before and after the ceremonies.

“We’re not going to have room for 10-15 family members per kid,” advised Shumate, as had been done in the past. The stadium holds about 5,000, so they think small groups of about four people will allow everyone to safely distance themselves.

“We really want to continue as long as the world is safe, or safer. We’ll try to do our best to make that happen,” he said.

Shumate noted that the school system has postponed the in-person graduations as a long as reasonably possible.

“It’s really now or never,” said Shumate, noting the many graduating seniors will be heading off to college in August.

As for school in the fall, the school system is still planning to reopen schools on August 10. Currently plans are still being worked out on how to make that happen, so no official plans have been announced.

Shumate said they plan to make an announcement on July 15 with more firm plans on the reopening of schools.

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