Faculty and Staff

2020 - 2021


Ms. Amie Cumming, Program Director 

Educational Background

  •  B.S. degree in Middle Grades Education from Georgia College
  •  M.Ed in Elementary Education from Piedmont College
  •  Ed.S in Educational Administration and Supervision from Lincoln Memorial University
  •  Endorsements: Gifted Education, Reading, and Teacher Support Specialist
  •  29 years in education
  • Assistant Principal of Cousins Middle School for three years.
  • Currently serve as Director of Student and Family Support and Director of RISE Academy

Favorite Quote

“You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." - C.S. Lewis 

Ms. Phalanda Perriman, Program Supervisor

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Music Education, Georgia College & State University
  • Master of Education, Georgia College & State University
  • Educational Specialist in Administration and Supervision, Lincoln Memorial University
  • 19 years in education 

Favorite Quote 

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6

Mr. Chris Andrews, Program Facilitator

Educational Background

  • Received Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a concentration in Mathematics from Rhode Island College
  • Received a Master of Education in Post Secondary Education from Troy University
  • Endorsements: Early Childhood Education, Gifted Education, ESOL, Middle Grades Math, and Middle Grades Social Studies
  • 21 years in education 
  • Taught 5th grade in Jackson, GA, for 2 years, 8th grade in Providence, RI for one year, 2 years in 8th grade with Dekalb and 16 years in Newton County 

Favorite Quote 

"What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mr. Scottie Benford, Program Facilitator


Educational Background

  • Received Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education from Georgia Southern University
  • M.Ed Administration and Supervision from the University of Phoenix
  • 10 years of classroom experience teaching grades 6-8 
  • 25 years in education 

Favorite Quote 

"Don't let yesterday use up too much of today" -Will Rogers

Ms. Kelly Byrd, Program Facilitator 

Educational Background

  • Received Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Jackson State University
  • Received a Master of Leadership in Education from Marygrove College
  • Curriculum and Instruction Specialist received from Piedmont College 
  • 19 years of teaching experience with 10 years in Middle School math while in Detroit, MI and 9 years teaching High School  in Georgia 


Favorite Quote
"Every day is a new day....."

Ms. Vanessa Carter, Program Facilitator


Educational Background 
  • B.S. in Middle Grades Education with concentrations in Math and Social Studies from Georgia College & State University
  • Endorsements: Special Education, Early Childhood Education, Middle Grades Reading, Math K-8
  • 29 years of classroom experience, 14 years in Newton County
Favorite Quote 
“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished” - Luke 1:45

Ms. Shelsey Reed, Program Facilitator

Educational Background 
  • B.A. in Political Science from Fort Valley State University 
  • Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from Grand Canyon University
  • Studying to receive a Master of Education in Elementary Education
  • 4th year in education


Favorite Quote 
“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values- and follow my own moral compass- then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own!” - Michelle Obama


Ms. Claudine Smith, Program Facilitator 

Educational Background
  • Received  B.S. in Psychology and M. Ed. in Counselor Education from Florida A&M University
  • 15 years of experience in Child Welfare with work in the private and public sector
  • 3 years in education  

Favorite Quote 
Never give up! You never know how close you may be to achieving your dreams.


Ms. Cindy Croy, Program Manager

Educational Background
  • 19 years of experience with Newton County Schools 


Favorite Quote 

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  -  Philippians 4:13


Ms. Didi Davis, Transition Coach


Educational Background
  • Received her B.S. in Kinesiology K-12 from the University of Arkansas
  • Earned her M.Ed. in Physical Education from the University of Georgia, Ed.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from Lincoln Memorial University
  • This is her 15th year teaching



Favorite Quote 
"What lies behind you and what lies before you, pales in comparison to what lies within you."  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mr. Mark Dannaker, Technology Specialist


Ms. Tanya McLeod, Head Custodian


25 years with Newton County Schools

Favorite Quote 
"Be stronger than your strongest excuse" 




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