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DCSS Press Release: New Dade Elementary Principal and Dade Middle Assistant Principal Named

Photo courtesy of Dade County Schools – Tracy Blevins (right) is retiring after 12 years as Dade Elementary’s principal, and Melissa Valtierra (left) will begin as principal in the 2023-2024 school year.

The Dade County Board of Education at its regularly scheduled monthly meeting approved Ms. Melissa Valtierra as principal at Dade Elementary School beginning with the 2023-2024 school year. She will succeed Ms. Tracy Blevins, who has done an outstanding job serving the students of DES for the last twelve years. Ms. Blevins and Ms. Valtierra are committed to ensuring a smooth transition throughout the process.

Ms. Valtierra is no stranger to public education. She began her educational career in the Crawford County School District in Roberta, Ga. as a third-grade teacher. Mrs. Valtierra spent twelve years teaching within the Crawford County School System before accepting a role as the district’s first academic coach in 2014. From 2017-2022, Mrs. Valtierra served as an assistant principal of Crawford County Elementary School. In June of 2022, Mrs. Valtierra and her family relocated to Trenton, Ga. where she has spent the last year teaching third grade. 

Ms. Valtierra’s educational experiences have afforded her the opportunity to collaborate with Middle Georgia RESA and several schools that participated in the Growing Readers initiative across Middle Georgia. She has also had the opportunity to present at the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement Innovation Summit where she highlighted the successes of the Growing Readers initiative. Ms. Valtierra excels at planning and facilitating professional learning aligned with the school’s goals, mentoring, coaching, motivating students and teachers, and cultivating collaborative relationships with students, parents, and community stakeholders. 

Ms. Valtierra is originally from Phenix City, Ala. She and her husband, Frank, proudly served in the United States Army. Mr. and Mrs. Valtierra met while stationed at Fort Gordon, Ga. They have two daughters: Callie (26) and Cameron (21). Callie works for Vanderbilt University in Nashville as a biologist, and Cameron is a junior at Berry College pursuing a bachelor’s degree in art education. Mr. and Mrs. Valtierra enjoy hiking, camping, traveling, and spending time with their daughters.

Rhonda Bradford

Additionally, the board approved Rhonda Bradford as the assistant principal of Dade County Middle School, beginning with the 2023-2024 school year.

Bradford and her husband both grew up in Dade County and are proud to call Dade home. Along with their two children, Stryder and Lakelynn, the Bradfords enjoy hiking, snow skiing, water skiing, swimming, fishing, and generally being in the great outdoors.

This is Bradford’s sixth year teaching physical education and health at Davis Elementary School, and she taught at Dade Elementary previously. She has coached volleyball, cross country, and track & field over the years.

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