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New middle school to be named for former superintendent

  • By Rebecca Leftwich
  • |
  • Nov. 07, 2020 - 2:14 PM

New middle school to be named for former superintendent

Photo courtesy Coweta Schools

Coweta County school officials tour the site of Blake Bass Middle School. From left are Superintendent Evan Horton, Coweta County Board of Education member Andrew Copeland, Blake Bass and Facilities Director Ronnie Cheek.

Coweta County’s newest school, set to open in August of 2021, will be Blake Bass Middle School.

Coweta County Board of Education members on Tuesday voted 7-0 to name the school – currently under construction on Shaw Road – after the 35-year educator, who served as Coweta County School Superintendent from 2004-2011.

The decision follows a longstanding tradition of naming schools and facilities after prominent education leaders.

“I’m honored to be recognized along with people like O.P. Evans, Homer Drake, Bobby Welch, Robert Lee and Richard Brooks,” said Bass, who toured the school site with school officials Friday. “Having a school named after me is a great honor.”

Bass grew up in Coweta County and graduated from Coweta County Schools. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history, a master’s degree in administration and supervision, and an education specialist degree in administration and supervision, all from what is now the University of West Georgia.

In the Coweta County School System, Bass served as a coach, teacher, principal and personnel director, as well as assistant and associate superintendent, before being named superintendent near the end of 2004. He held that position until his retirement in 2011.

“Newnan and Coweta County without a doubt mean more to Blake Bass than anyone that I know – both the community itself and the people who make up Coweta County and Newnan,” said Dr. Steve Barker, who recently retired after serving nine years as successor to Bass. “He led from that mindset, and I believe that has a lot to do with his great success. The school system is better as a result of the time he spent there.”

During Bass’ tenure, Coweta students’ SAT scores rose above the national average for the first time. In 2010, Coweta was one of only two large districts in the state in which every school achieved Adequate Yearly Progress as outlined by the No Child Left Behind Act, and it was the fourth school system in Georgia to achieve district-wide SACS accreditation.

Bass helped Coweta Schools make significant financial strides that included retiring all bond debt and growing the system’s reserves without increasing the property tax rate. He also oversaw the construction of ninth grade campuses at all three high schools and the central office complex on Werz Industrial Boulevard, as well as additions and major renovations at several schools.

“His motivation was to do everything in his power to make Coweta County and Newnan the very best it could be,” Barker said. “When you lead with that as your fundamental purpose, it helps you do a good job for the right reasons.”

In 2011, Bass was named Coweta County Citizen of the Year and was the recipient of the Richard Brooks Visionary Award. He is active in the local civic community as a member of the Newnan Kiwanis Club, Immediate Past Lieutenant Governor for Division 3 of Georgia Kiwanis, the University of West Georgia Athletic Foundation Board, the Board of Directors of the Coweta Sports Hall of Fame, former member of the Executive Board of the Coweta Citizen of The Year and former member of the Board of Directors for the Coweta Community Foundation.

“Everything he does is anchored in his love for this community,” Barker said. “If you look at where he spends his time now giving back, it proves the point.”

Bass joined the University of West Georgia-Newnan as an educational consultant in 2015, and he currently serves as director of the UWG Educational Collaborative. He and his wife, Lila Miller Bass, have two grown sons and two grandchildren.

Blake Bass Middle School will be the first new school in the Coweta County School System since Brooks Elementary School – named for former superintendent Richard Brooks – opened in 2009.