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Vayla Lee is Twiggs County's interim schools chief

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Educator Valya Lee has been tapped by a central Georgia school system to serve as its temporary leader for the next year, the former Clayton County Public Schools Interim Superintendent confirmed on Tuesday.

Lee said the Twiggs County Board of Education voted on June 22 to hire her on an interim basis for the next year. Twiggs County School Board Chairperson Ethel Stanley reported Lee's hiring in comments made last week to the Macon Telegraph. Stanley could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Twiggs County Public Schools is based in Jeffersonville, a town that is 28 miles southeast of Macon. The school system employs 178 staff members, and has a general fund budget of $8.7 million, according to its web site. There are three schools in the district, including one elementary school, one middle school, and one high school.

Lee said she will immediately take over as leader of the 994-student school district. "July 1 is my first day with them," she said on Tuesday. She declined to comment further on her new position. Stanley told the Macon Telegraph that Lee's contract could be extended, depending on how well she does during the 2010-2011 school year.

Lee led Clayton Schools, as its interim superintendent, from March 2009, to July 2009. When she took over, the school system was without its Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation. During her brief tenure as interim superintendent, Lee led the district through a SACS site visit, after which the school system regained its accreditation.

She applied to become Clayton County's permanent superintendent, but the position ultimately went to current Superintendent Edmond Heatley.

Since then, Lee's name has come up as a finalist in superintendent searches in Dougherty and Sumter counties, as well as in Birmingham, Ala.

After Lee's tenure as Clayton County's interim superintendent, she became the assistant superintendent of student services, which is the position she held before she was the district's interim leader. Her position was one of three spots on Heatley's cabinet that have been cut as part of a broader effort to reduce expenditures in the district.

According to the Macon Telegraph, Lee replaces current Twiggs County Interim Superintendent Carol Brown, whose contract reportedly expires today.