HEFLIN — A man who graduated from Cleburne County High School 21 years ago as a student is coming back to be its principal. The Cleburne County Board of Education voted unanimously Monday afternoon to hire Jeffrey Bryant for the post.
Bryant, who’ll turn 39 later this month, will succeed Principal Valrie Bain, who is retiring.
Bryant, a Cleburne County native, is “coming home” after a string of coaching and teaching jobs in various parts of Georgia after graduating from Auburn with a bachelor's degree in education and special education in 2002.
Bryant said the entire time he’s been in education he’s been looking to return to Cleburne County.
“It just hasn't been the right time and the right opportunity I didn’t feel like up until this point,” Bryant said Tuesday.
“I got into education because I wanted to be able to give kids those same opportunities I had growing up,” he said.
One of the first tasks facing Bryant will be to hire a new head football coach to replace Michael Shortt, who retired.
Bryant said he wants a coach who will build better young men to prepare them to be successful later in life.
“I think we have some great young men already we just need someone to add to that,” Bryant said.
“We also want someone who’s going to be innovative football-wise, that’s going to be able to put a competitive product on the field for the community. The community has always been supportive even when I was in high school,” said the Class of ’98 alumnus.
Bryant said he is ready to get started and plans to work with Bain during June.
“My vision coming in the first day is we want to build relationships with these kids so the kids feel comfortable with adults and to be able to create an environment to where kids can come in and succeed and feel safe,” Bryant said.
Bryant is married and has a eight-year-old son who will attend Cleburne County Elementary. Bryant’s parents still live in Heflin and are excited to have their grandson live so close to them.
“It’s comforting coming back to a job this big,” Bryant said.
The board also voted to hire ten summer school facilitators at the Cleburne County Career Technical School:
— Amy Brown
— Jodie Thompson
— Kathy Green
— Pat Johnson
— Scott Johnson
— Christie Rainey
— Leslie Salter
— Kelly Payton
— Kevin Boyd
— Christy Ader
The board also voted unanimously to hire the following:
— Barbara Johnson as director of the after-school program
— Donna Howle, Jeromy Owen, Leslie Coker as after-school program teachers at Cleburne County Elementary School
— Vicki Roberts, Jennifer Pruitt and Nikki Gilbert as Title I summer school instructors at Fruithurst Elementary School
— Jessica Punkosdy as Title I Summer School licensed practical nurse at Fruithurst Elementary
— Mark Garner as the collision repair instructor at Cleburne County Career Technical School
— Shane Biven as the building maintenance supervisor
— Amie Brinkley as the child nutrition program manager and bookkeeper
The board also approved a three-year contract for Jamie Smith, principal at Ranburne Elementary.
The board also approved borrowing $1,310,000 from Noble Bank for the purchase of 16 buses that hold 72 passengers each.
The board also approved a bid of $248,000 for a connecting hallway at Ranburne Elementary School. The hallway will be a covered walkway connecting the two separate wings of the elementary school.
Cleburne County Schools Superintendent Chad Young said the hallway is needed for safety reasons if the school needs to be on lockdown.