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Press Release – June 14, 2012
Coweta County Board of Education honors Late Superintendent Robert Lee
At their Board meeting on June 12, he Coweta County Board of Education honored the memory of the late Dr. Robert Lee who served as Superintendent of the Coweta County School System from 1969 to 1989.
Superintendent Steve Barker and Board members expressed their condolences to the family of Dr. Lee, including wife Ruth Lee and son Greg Lee, who were in attendance. Dr. Lee died on April 24.
“Dr. Lee led our school system for a generation, and served our community during some very difficult and momentous periods of history,” said Dr. Barker. “Our schools, and our community’s educational opportunities today, are immeasurably better off because of that.”
Barker also noted many of Dr. Lee’s accomplishments during his long tenure, which included the merging of the separate county and system school system and the successful integration of all county schools.
“Dr. Lee led our system well, with great professionalism and decency,” Barker said.
Dr. Barker announced that the school system had instituted a “Dr. Robert Lee Award,’ to be given each year to a school system employee who exhibited the traits of “Leadership, Vision and Courage,” in memory of Superintendent Lee. Barker presented a plaque to Mrs. Lee that constituted the first such award.
He also announced that Associate Superintendent Jerry Davis had been chosen as the first recipient of the award within the school system, in honor of Davis’ leadership and character during his career in the Coweta County School System.
The Lee family was welcomed and thanked by School Board Chairman Sue Brown and other members of the Board.
Dr. Robert Lee served as the Superintendent of the Coweta County School System from 1969 to 1989. During his 20-year tenure, he presided over the first years of newly-consolidated Coweta County School System, the successful integration of the school system, major improvements in the academic program of the schools, and the first years of growth and new construction in the school system.
Lee – a native of McKenzie Alabama – served two years in the U.S. Navy and then attended the University of Alabama and Troy State, where he earned his B.A. degree. He earned his Masters degree at the University of Alabama and his Doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado, Colorado State.
Lee began teaching in Hacoda, Alabama, in the 1949-50 school year, and first became a principal there. He later became a school principal in Coffee Springs, Alabama. He then moved to the Mobile Public School System, where he served seven years as a principal at Alba High School in Bayou La Batre and then at Citronelle High School. Lee was then hired as the principal of South Cobb High School in Georgia 1962. After three years he moved to the Cobb County School System’s central office as Director of Instructional Services in Cobb County.
In 1968 a local agreement between the Coweta County School Board and City of Newnan School Board, followed by the passage of a state Constitutional amendment, created a unified Coweta County School System. The boards officially consolidated the school system on January 1, 1969, in order to equalize opportunities for education for all of Coweta’s citizens and to improve the level of educational services generally.
Dr. Lee was hired by the newly-unified school board as the new school system’s first Superintendent and Mr. O.P. Evans was appointed Associate Superintendent.
In 1970, a court order officially integrated the Coweta County School System, and Dr. Lee presided over the full integration of the county school system. The next great challenge was the move to bring the school system into accreditation under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Among many other accomplishments during his subsequent 20 years as superintendent, Dr. Lee:
- Led a system-wide upgrading of our schools and educational facilities.
- Reorganized the grade structure into today’s K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 programs, and began our school system’s Kindergarten, middle school and junior high school programs.
- Established the school system’s first special education program and expansion of the county’s programs for gifted students.
- Established the school system’s business partner programs.
- Brought women in administrative positions for the first time in our community.
Lee’s legacy was honored in 2006 with the dedication of Lee Middle School. School Board Chairman Mitch Powell and Superintendent Blake Bass presided over the dedication ceremony of Coweta’s sixth middle school, with Dr. Lee and his family in attendance, on July 31, 2006.
The Coweta County Board of Education honored the family and the memory of Dr. Robert Lee, at its meeting June 12. Lee – who served as Coweta County’s Superintendent from 1969-199 – passed away April 24. Above, Ruth Lee – the wife of late Superintendent - and son Greg Lee are welcomed by Chairman Sue Brown. Behind, left to right, are Board Members Frank Farmer, Graylin Ward, Amy Dees and Superintendent Steve Barker.