At its May 11 meeting, the Clarke County Board of Education approved three leadership hires in the Clarke County School District central office. Jennifer Martin will become the district’s new Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, and Chris Griner has been hired as Chief Financial Officer, effective July 1. Meanwhile, Tessa Barbazon has been named Executive Director of Student and Family Supports, a position she has held on an interim basis since March following a district organizational realignment earlier this year.
“I’m very pleased to welcome Ms. Martin and Mr. Griner to CCSD and to allow Ms. Barbazon the opportunity to carry out the reorganization of Student and Family Supports on a permanent basis,” said Dr. Robbie Hooker, Superintendent. “All three of these individuals bring a depth of knowledge and experience to their new roles that will allow our district to continue on its path of continuous improvement. I look forward to the great things each will do.”
Jennifer Martin - Executive Director of Teaching and Learning
In her role as Executive Director of Teaching in and Learning, Jennifer Martin will lead the development and ongoing improvement of a cohesive K-12 content program that is in alignment with the Georgia Standards for Excellence and will oversee the implementation of that program in CCSD schools. This work will involve selecting instructional resources and identifying and assisting schools with implementing instructional practices and programs to increase student achievement across all content areas. The position reports to the Chief of Academics and Student Supports.
Ms. Martin brings to CCSD 22 years of teaching and administrative experience at the middle and high school levels. She is currently the principal of Apalachee High School in Barrow County, a position she has held since 2015, and has overseen increases in CCRPI scores and the graduation rate during her tenure there. She also was previously an assistant principal at Winder-Barrow High School and taught English at Dacula Middle and Mill Creek High schools in Gwinnett County.
Ms. Martin holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies as well as a master’s in English and Secondary Education from the University of Rhode Island and a specialist degree in Educational Administration and Supervision. She is currently working toward her doctorate in Educational Policy from Georgia State University.
“Albert Schweitzer shared, ‘The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others.’ At the root of all public educators is a willingness to serve. There is no way we can go wrong as teachers and school systems when we instill the belief that each individual student has an idea of who they want to become as we commit to ensuring our schools support that desire through high expectations and continuous improvement,” said Ms. Martin. “I look forward to joining the Clarke County School District so I can be a part of supporting curriculum, encouraging risk-taking in the classroom, and building hope for students as they pursue post-secondary success. I am excited to meet passionate colleagues who serve this incredible community. Together, we can work to know what our individual students need, provide that for them, and bring continued success to the system.”
Chris Griner - Chief Financial Officer
Chris Griner brings to CCSD 29 years of accounting and finance experience in the public and private sectors and returns to the district after having previously served as the Chief Financial Officer in 2020 before returning to community banking. He replaces former CFO Byron Schueneman, who left the district in March to become the Chief Financial Officer for the DeKalb County School District.
Mr. Griner is currently the Assistant Superintendent for Finance for Glynn County Schools in Brunswick and has also previously led the finance and business services teams for Barrow County Schools, Gainesville, Georgia, City Schools, Forsyth County Schools, the Sumter (South Carolina) School District, and the South Carolina Public Charter School District. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Valdosta State University and is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in Georgia.
“I am very excited about returning to Athens and look forward to being part of the team at CCSD again,” said Mr. Griner. “I look forward to leading the finance and business services department again and continuing the financial excellence that they have established.”
Tessa Barbazon - Executive Director of Student and Family Supports
In her role as Executive Director of Student and Family Supports, Ms. Barbazon has oversight of student registration, school psychology services, social work services, issues related to the Code of Student Conduct, and trauma-informed care.
Ms. Barbazon joined CCSD in 2018 as Director of School Counseling and Social-Emotional Learning. She continued to serve in this role and that of coordinator of the district’s REACH scholarship program since March while serving as interim Executive Director of Student and Family Supports. She has been a school counselor at the elementary and high school levels, held a district leadership role in Fulton County, and has also taught English in Madison and Fulton counties. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Georgia, a master’s in School Counseling from the University of West Alabama, and specialist degree in Educational Leadership from Georgia State University.