Chatham Schools consider AI use in classrooms

“We’re giving teachers… guidance on how to use it as an instructional tool"


The Chatham County Schools Board of Education met for its monthly meeting on Feb. 12,

Superintendent Anthony Jackson spoke of the increasing use of artificial intelligence products within schools, noting that it was early days for the technology but things were moving rapidly.

The state Department of Public Instruction released “preliminary guidance on artificial intelligence,” Jackson told the board. “We’re giving teachers… guidance on how to use it as an instructional tool and not necessarily as something that kids are going to use to cheat.” The district will also be reaching out to parents with additional information about how AI is being used as well as developments over the next few years.

The monthly Power of One Award — recognizing a district staffer or teacher who has made an impact on a student’s life — was given to Rachel Davis, a school counselor from Virginia Cross Elementary.

"Rachel is an amazing school counselor! She works hard to build relationships with students,” said the nomination for Davis. “Kids at our school love Mrs. Davis and know that they are safe with her. She is creative, full of energy, and always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. VCE is a better place because of her."

The first annual School Justice Partnership meeting with law enforcement partners met with a focus on “Really digging and looking at our data on how we can effectively communicate with all the jurisdictions that are around us.” according to a continued briefing of the board by Superintendent Jackson. The School Justice Partnership works to coordinate a safer school environment by working with cross-jurisdictional partners including multiple police and sheriff departments.

Finally, Chatham Schools CFO Tony Messer was recognized after receiving the 2024 Lou Thompson Distinguished Service Award from the North Carolina Association of School Business Officials, a statewide association of public school finance professionals.

“He was very surprised when his family showed up,” Jackson said, noting that several county officials were in attendance at the NCASBO event for the award. “This is the absolute highest award for a school financial officer in our state.”

Messer was president of the organization for two years, from 2020 to 2022, guiding the NCASBO through the COVID-19 pandemic and serving as president of the Southern Association of School Business Officials. He has experience at Moore County Schools, Scotland County Schools, and has served as CFO of Chatham County Schools for 11 years.

The next meeting of the Chatham County Schools Board of Education is scheduled for March 11 at 5:30 p.m.