Superintendents Meet to Celebrate The First Choice for a Second Chance
Every twenty-six seconds a student drops out of high school in the United States. One quarter of high school freshmen do not make it to their graduation (USDOE, 2011). Challenges such as these were on the forefront of Wade Smith’s mind over two decades ago when he spawned the concept of the Mountain Education Center. Then recognized as a special Georgia school, MEC started with one site in Union County and had three graduates. Now under the status as a Georgia State Charter School, the Mountain Education Charter High School has grown to 16 locations in 15 counties, in cities from Chatsworth to Bowman; from Blue Ridge to Gainesville.

From its inception and through years of tireless leadership with superintendents Wade Smith, Mitchel Barrett, Dr. Richard Behrens, and current superintendent Dr. Wayne Lovell, MECHS has experienced tremendous growth; currently over 2,000 students are enrolled, 21 students dual enrolled, and graduates nearly 300 students each year.

The three former and current superintendents met on December 7, 2017 to celebrate the legacy of the school, discuss the organization’s strategic planning process spearheaded by the Director of Strategic Planning Major General (Ret) Maria Britt. Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Safety Tracy Sanford shared in the development plans for the new central office located on HWY 75 N scheduled to open in June 2018, and Director of School Performance Dr. Joe Cash shared a snapshot of student and site academic performance to date. Through the many obstacles and challenges of meeting students’ needs in an ever changing political and accountability climate, the Mountain Education Charter High School maintains its commitment to provide a second chance opportunity for students across North Georgia to earn an accredited high school diploma in a student-centered, self-paced, evening public high school. For more information, call 706.219.4664 or visit