Contact: Dean Jackson Office of Public Information
Phone: 770.254.2736
Fax: 770.254.2807

Press Release – February 4, 2014

No make-up days will be required for Coweta County students

The Coweta County School System has determined that no additional school days will be required to make up for student instructional days missed due to inclement weather over the month of January.

Superintendent Steve Barker informed parents of the decision in a letter sent to Coweta families on February 4:

“Dear Parents,

It has been a pleasure to welcome students and employees back to school following last week’s inclement weather.  I know that many of you have called with questions about making up the missed school days.  Also, many have expressed concern about currently scheduled school holidays.
Due to the fact that the Coweta County Board of Education has maintained a full
180-day school calendar for instruction, we will not need to schedule additional instructional days for students to meet state requirements.  Our school system’s holidays will remain as scheduled.

Thank you for your patience as we have reviewed our options concerning this matter.  Hopefully, we will not encounter any additional inclement weather during the remainder of the school year.

 Steve B. Barker, Ed.D.          
 Superintendent, Coweta County School System”

The 2013-14 school-year calendar for Coweta County Schools can be found at the school system’s website, at

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Coweta’s Central Educational Center, Business Partnership,

Lauded at Lt. Governor’s Business and Education Summit


Coweta’s Central Educational Center (CEC) was named the 2013 College and Career Academy of the Year by Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, at the Lieutenant Governor’s 2013 Business and Education Summit in Rincon, Georgia.

CEC was selected from among five finalists in the first ever competition for this annual award, which included College and Career Academies in Effingham County, Golden Isles, Floyd County and Athens-Clarke County. This year’s summit was held at the Effingham College and Career Academy.

Separately, Newnan’s NuLink Digital was also a finalist for College and Career Academy Business Partner of the Year, which was also presented at the annual summit.

Nulink was among five finalists for the honor, including Dalton’s Shaw Industries (a division of Berkshire Hathway, Inc.), Carollton’s Southwire Company, Caterpillar Inc., and Gulfstream Aerospace. Shaw Industries won in this year’s Business Partner category.

In informing CEC’s charter board of the honor, CEC CEO Mark Whitlock noted that CEC and the Coweta County’s “pioneering good work is appreciated statewide. The community support provided in Coweta by Coweta companies is a shining example for our state.”

The CEC College and Career Academy charter school was founded in 2000 as a joint venture among the Coweta County School System, West Georgia Technical College and the local business community.  The school’s launch followed a three-year community-wide initiative aimed at providing students with unique and seamless educational experience created by seamlessly blending secondary and post-secondary education and training with business and industry needs.

27 College and Career Academies have been developed by public school systems and partners around Georgia, and three more are currently under development.  All are based on CEC’s unique model of partnership between local school systems, college and technical colleges, businesses and industry.

Lt. Governor Cagle – when presenting CEC with the honor on Thursday, November 14 – noted that the first of these awards was being presented to the “pioneer” upon which Georgia’s College and Career Academy Initiative has been built.

“When it came time to select our first ever College and Career Academy of the Year, the Central Educational Center was an obvious choice,” said Lt. Governor Cagle.  “The tremendous partnership between Coweta County Schools, West Georgia Technical College, and the local business community has produced an incredible, world-class educational institution that is leading Coweta County into the bright economic future of tomorrow.  But they’re not only doing great things in Coweta- they have embraced their leadership role and are encouraging and supporting similar academies in communities across the state.”

CEC’s partners were excited to hear that the state had honored CEC as the top college and Career academy in the state.

“I congratulate CEC on this honor,” said Superintendent Dr. Steve Barker. “This recognition validates the commitment of many stakeholders in this effort of offering opportunities for students in a College and Career Academy. The CEC model has proven to work in Coweta County because of the combined efforts of many stakeholders to build partnerships.”

“It’s an honor for CEC and for our whole community,” said Jeff Phillips, Director of Administration for Newnan Utilities and Chairman of the CEC Board of Directors.  “I congratulate CEC’s students and instructors and leadership. They have set the precedent and continue to raise the bar for College and Career Academies state-wide.”

“Certainly the CEC is most deserving of this honor,” said WGTC President Dr. Skip Sullivan. “West Georgia Technical College has been delighted with the partnership and vision of the leadership at the CEC for well over a decade. Students’ lives have been changed, business and industry have better trained employees, and the community will reap benefits for years to come. “

“This is a great honor for CEC and all of its partners, and we appreciate all they do to help Coweta County and our local economy,” said Greg Wright, Coweta County Development Authority President.  “New and expanding companies demand a quality workforce, so every one of our economic development prospects hears the CEC story.”

NuLink’s Business Partner of the Year nomination set the Newnan company among some of Georgia’s largest and best-known businesses.  “We were thrilled to be nominated and even more excited to learn we were a finalist,” said Lana Mobley, NuLink’s Vice President of Commercial Sales. “It is quite an honor to be considered for this award along with some of the most esteemed businesses and industries in Georgia.”

NuLink partners with the Coweta County School System in a number of ways, and is a key CEC business partner through the co-location of the company’s video production studios on the CEC campus.  The studios – producing local programming that appears on NuLink Cable’s Channel 7 and Channel 10 – share production space with teacher Michael Britt’s video production lab.  CEC video production students help produce programming, and NuLink provides students internships and other work-based learning opportunities.

Mobley says that NuLink’s experience at CEC demonstrates why business partnerships work at the charter school – because they benefit students, businesses and other partnering institutions equally.

“The decision to co-locate our production studio at CEC was made to help develop the skills of the video production students, who may become NuLink employees in the future,” said Mobley.  “But the same partnership provides us with assistance in filming, editing and the production for programming that is exclusively shown on NuLink today. That was our premise when we partnered with CEC, and it has definitely been a win-win for us, for students, and for everyone involved.”

Partnerships like NuLink’s are crucial elements of College and Career Academies, and were the centerpoint of the 2013 Summit hosted by Lt. Governor Cagle. The summit was intended to discuss the importance of education to local economies, and showcase successful college and career academies in the state.  The two-day summit was intended to provide an opportunity for communities who have or are considering establishing their own academy to join business and education leaders in discussing the work of the Georgia College and Career Academy Network (GCCAN), reviewing the best practices from academies across the state, how to build better business-education partnerships, and increasing dual enrollment opportunities for students.

“Most of the attendees at the summit were from business and industry,” said CEC’s Whitlock. “What the attendees discussed was what our school system, technical college and business leaders started here in Coweta over a decade ago, which was a way to link education and economic development for our community, and to do it in a way that is good for students, first, good for businesses, and good for educational institutions.”

“What was started here in Coweta County – something innovative and very different from anything done before in our state – has been replicated or is being replicated in 30 communities across Georgia, involving hundreds of businesses.  And there is interest in this model beyond those examples,” said Whitlock.

That is important for CEC and for Coweta County for a number of reasons, said Whitlock.  Successful replications of College and Career Academies across the state affirm the success of CEC’s model, provide a much wider set of experiences and innovations from which CEC can draw in the future, and create state-wide interest in promoting support for innovative educational models, he said.

“What CEC needed when we began in 2000 were opportunities to benchmark – other communities doing what we were trying to do, and creating their own innovations and successes from which we could learn,” said Whitlock.

“That has happened and is expanding in Georgia, and we benefit from it.  That means other communities are seeking benchmarking opportunities as well, so we can begin to look collaboratively, as a state, at successful student-career and education-business partnership models in places like Germany and Switzerland, who do these kinds of things very well. That means Georgia –a large economy in its own right – can look to similar educational models nationally and internationally, benchmark ourselves against them in terms of student achievement, and set even higher goals.”

“This is an important part of the ‘continuous improvement systems process’ that Dr. Joe Harless and other local CEC Steering Committee members adopted before CEC opened,” said Whitlock.  “It is happening, and our students and community are the beneficiaries.”


Cutline (CEC 2013 College and Career Academy of the Year): The Central Educational Center (CEC) was named the 2013 College and Career Academy of the Year by Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, at the Lieutenant Governor’s 2013 Business and Education Summit. NuLink Digital was also a finalist for College and Career Academy Business Partner of the Year at the summit, for its video production partnership with CEC.  Above, in CEC’s video production lab, are, left to right, CEC students Austin Williams (Newnan High), Ashley Cooper (Northgate High), Levi Reichel (East Coweta High) CEC CEO Mark Whitlock, CEC Director of Broadcast Video Production Michael Britt, CEC student Zach Gabriel (East Coweta High), Kenan Smith (East Coweta High) and Josh Gonzales (Newnan High).


Cutline (CEC façade): Coweta’s Central Educational Center (CEC) was named the 2013 College and Career Academy of the Year by Georgia Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, at the Lieutenant Governor’s 2013 Business and Education Summit. Founded in 2000 as a joint venture among the Coweta County School System, West Georgia Technical College and the local business community, the school has served as the model for 27 other College and Career Academies developed since 2000 throughout Georgia.