Dowdell, 2 principals get new roles
by Rebecca Leftwich
Veteran Coweta educator Winston Dowdell – for whom the county’s alternative high school is named – was elected chairman of the Coweta County Board of Education in January.
Dowdell was part of a slate of nominations that included Harry Mullins, who was elected vice chairman and Graylin Ward, who was elected treasurer.
Dowdell said the board will be focused on student services and achievement, supporting the school system and the community. He urged board members to continue to act professionally and follow the law.
A retired Coweta County School System associate superintendent, Dowdell began his career in the Coweta schools at Grantville Brown School in 1968. He taught at Moreland Elementary and moved into administration in 1974, when he became an assistant principal at Newnan High School, and eventually served as principal at both Fairmount and Eastside elementary schools.
He joined the school system’s central office staff in 1989 as assistant superintendent in 1989 and retired from his associate superintendent position in 1994.
“I’m honored to be here,” Dowdell said in taking over as school board chairman. “That said, it’s not about me, it’s about the board working together to meet our goals.”
His first action was to express his appreciation to outgoing chair Sue Brown for her service.
“Thank you, Ms. Brown, for your leadership for the past two years,” said Dowdell.
Mullins also praised Brown, who was the first woman to serve as board chair in Coweta’s history.
“I just want to personally tell Ms. Brown thank you for serving as board chairman for the past two years,” Mullins said. “We had a new superintendent and new board members, and while we were working through that transition, you brought a calming atmosphere this board really needed.
“I’ll always be proud to say I served with the first female chairperson of the Coweta County Board of Education,” Mullins added.
Brown has been nominated for a seat on the executive panel of the Georgia School Boards Association.
Some new faces already have become familiar to students with the immediate filling of vacancies left by 13 classroom teachers who retired in November.
The midyear retirements of four longtime school system administrators and the planned retirements of others, however, gave Coweta schools an opportunity to redistribute and consolidate some administrative duties – a cost-cutting measure for the budget-conscious Coweta district – before recruiting replacements.
As a result, Newnan High School Principal Doug Moore has been named as the school system’s director of Operations and School Safety, and Northgate Principal Therese Reddekopp the director of Instructional Services. Both will begin their new duties at the end of the current school year.
Moore, a Coweta County native and an alumnus of Newnan High, is a 32-year educator. He began with the school system as a music teacher in 1981, teaching at Arnco-Sargent, Moreland and Grantville Public elementary schools and Evans, Central and Smokey Road middle schools as well as Newnan High.
Moore moved into administration in 2003 as assistant principal at Canongate Elementary School, and in 2004 he headed for Newnan High, where he served until assuming the school’s principalship in 2008.
Reddekopp has served as the principal of Northgate High school for 10 years. A native of New Orleans, she is a 33-year educator. She began her career in 1980, teaching Spanish, French and English in three Louisiana high schools. In the Carrollton, Texas school system, Reddekopp was a classroom teacher before moving into administration as an assistant middle school principal.
She moved to Coweta County School in 1998, teaching French at Evans Middle before taking an assistant principalship at Newnan High in 1999. During her career, Reddekopp has also served as an adjunct professor at the University of West Georgia, Brookhaven College in Farmer’s Branch Texas, and Southeastern Louisiana university in Hammond, Louisiana.