chief turnaround schools officer

Grant Blankenship / GPB

One morning during the second week of the school year, Principal Shandrina Griffin-Stewart was about to walk the halls of Appling Middle School in Macon. She'd just stepped outside her door when she saw a class of rambunctious sixth graders. She quickly got them in line.

"Raider Pride!" she intoned.

The students responded immediately, if less than enthusiastically.

"Gear up, work hard and do right," they said in a loose unison. Griffin-Stewart tried again.

"Raider Pride!"