Chambley completes his first 100 days

Published 8:15 am Saturday, April 10, 2021

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Chambers County School District Superintendent Casey Chambley marked his 100th day in office on Tuesday.

In those 100 days, Chambley and his staff have been working on various projects around the district.

“Nothing moves as fast as I want it to, and I think new leadership always does that,” Chambley said. “You hit the ground running, and you want things to change. You want to push your vision, and that’s one thing that we are trying to do. It’s difficult because you have to come in and assess and look at things. I said this during the campaign, everything is not bad, so you don’t have to fix everything. We had to come in and have a period that we came in and looked at things, and we assessed. We started trying to eat that elephant one bite at a time.”

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During the campaign, Chambley came up with the B.R.I.C.K. plan, which stands for buildings, respect, identity, commitment and kids.

In his first 100 days, Chambley has worked hard on the buildings around the CCSD.

“Our buildings are very old, so maintaining older buildings is tough,” Chambley said. “We’re not a very wealthy county, so we have to be very cautious about how we spend our money. We want things to be done quickly, and some things we can do quickly.”

One of the CCSD’s biggest completed projects was at Bob Harding Elementary School. With funding help from State Sen. Randy Price and State Rep. Debbie Wood, the district was able to put a covered walkway from the school to the gymnasium, which protects the students from crossing the campus in the rain.

“Forever, they would either not have P.E. when it rained or got wet. That was completed about a month ago,” Chambley said.

Eight roofs in the school district will also be redone soon.

Chambley has been working with McKee and Associates to build a new culinary center and lunchroom at Inspire Academy.

The district is helping to renovate the Valley High School weight room, bringing in new equipment and repainting the building. LaFayette High School will receive additional weight equipment for its weight room as well.

At the central office, Chambley is working with the Chambers County Commission to repave the road that leads to the office and Inspire Academy.

“There’s a lot of things going on,” Chambley said. “We’re going to be doing a lot of landscaping projects around the county.”

While a lot of the work has been done to the outside of the buildings, Chambley has been working to clear the clutter inside the buildings as well, as he has given each school permission to designate more items for surplus.

“I think it’s huge for the teachers and huge for the principals to actually be able to clean their buildings up and get some of those things off of their inventory, so they can clean up. It opens up some storage areas that they haven’t had in the past,” Chambley said. “We’re getting a lot of federal money because of COVID, and we’re ordering a lot of things. But we need somewhere to put it. Being able to declutter and get rid of some of the old stuff that hasn’t been used … I think that’s kind of liberating to them. We’re going to do a lot of work this summer, but you have to declutter things before you can clean.”

Chambley announced the CCSD will have a new call center, which are the state designations for campuses, for its online school. It will be housed at Inspire Academy.

“That’s how the state recognizes your buildings. That’s how you earn teacher units,” Chambley said. “We applied for our virtual school to be a call center, and it was approved. We’ll be housing our virtual school instead of it being housed at each individual school. It will be its own entity. Depending on how many students are in it, it’ll earn teacher units next year.”

Having the call center for the virtual school will also allow the district to help students that are struggling with grades, conflict or absentee issues.

“It’ll be a place where we can give them some individualized instruction,” Chambley said.

In his first 100 days, the biggest lesson Chambley has learned has been to slow down and celebrate the victories as they come.

“It’s going to take time. We have to celebrate these small victories. Like the walkway at Shawmut, that seems so small to some people, but to those kids and those teachers, it was huge,” Chambley said. “Although I’m looking at everything around the entire county, and I’m seeing everything that needs to be done, we have to slow down and celebrate those small victories.”