School board approves assistant superintendent and new school na - WRBL

School board approves assistant superintendent and new school name

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New assistant superintendent Rebecca Braaten is excited to be here New assistant superintendent Rebecca Braaten is excited to be here
Dorothy Height Elementary named with 7-2 vote Dorothy Height Elementary named with 7-2 vote

Muscogee County has a new assistant superintendent and a name for the newest elementary school in the district.

At Monday night's school board meeting, Dr. John Phillips was honored for his years of service both as superintendent, and as interim superintendent. Mayor Teresa Tomlinson proclaimed the day "Dr. John A. Phillips, Jr. Day" and the longtime educator was named Superintendent Emeritus by the board.

Later they unanimously approved Rebecca Braaten as the county's new assistant superintendent. She has moved to Columbus with her four school-aged children and husband, and says she's looking forward to working here.

"It's just been a very smooth transition and I'm very thankful for that," says Braaten. "Mr. Lewis, I've worked for you for 11 years, I was very devastated when you left, and now I get to work with you again! So I'm excited."

Superintendent David Lewis brought Braaten to Columbus from Polk County School District in Florida, where she was the senior director of K-12 Science and Acceleration.

Also on the agenda was the naming of Muscogee County's newest school. Elementary school #7 falls under board member Athavia Senior's district three. She recommended the name "Dorothy Height Elementary" after the national education advocate and civil rights activist.

The name was passed by a vote of seven to two. Cathy Williams and Naomi Buckner were against the name, preferring that the school be named after someone with local ties.

Mark Cantrell understands the struggle of choosing an appropriate name. "I'm in favor of Ms. Height," he says. "It's not somebody that would be in Columbus, and would I prefer somebody from Columbus, Ga.? I would prefer somebody, but to sit here and say I do not prefer her choice, no. I'm wholeheartedly endorsing her choice."

After the vote, Williams asked about a new procedure for naming schools, requesting more input from the community before a decision is made. Board chair Rob Varner says revising the process is on the list of things to do.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.

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