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Poythress joins ranks of Distinguished Alumni

A Carrollton High School Class of 1987 graduate motivated by a desire to excel in finance and business was honored for his accomplishments by being named the 20th recipient of the Carrollton High School Distinguished Alumni Award, presented April 18 during the CHS 38th annual Academic Achievement Awards program at the Mabry Center for the Arts. 

Carrollton City Schools Supt. Dr. Mark Albertus, right, presented Antoine Poythress, 2024 Carrollton High School Distinguished Alumni award recipient, an engraved commemorative tray following an induction presentation. 

Antoine Poythress’s humble beginnings in Carrollton and his remarkable career achievements stand as a testament to his dedication, resilience, and unwavering commitment to excellence. 

Poythress said he knew early on that he wanted to be a “businessman.”

“My grandfather was a small business owner and was self-employed for most of his life,” he said. “I wanted to get an education and a business background in an effort to help with my grandfather's business.”

After graduating from CHS, Poythress headed to Kentucky Wesleyan College, where he earned a degree in Accounting. 

“My biggest motivation to major in accounting was to become a CFO and lead companies' financial operations,” said Poythress. 

When reflecting on major milestones in his career, Poythress said passing his CPA exam just one year after college was his first significant milestone. The second milestone came when he achieved CPA licensure in the state of Texas. His third milestone was attaining the position of CFO at Washington County Medical Center, followed by a fourth milestone of becoming CEO at both Washington County Medical Center and Jenkins County Medical Center.

In his younger years, Poythress was nurtured by a loving family who instilled the values of education and hard work. His childhood memories revolve around the Carrollton community, where he said he made lifelong friendships and learned the importance of diversity and inclusivity.

“I had a very loving mother and grandparents,” said Poythress. “They stressed the value of education from an early age and the benefits of a great work ethic.”

Like many of his peers in Carrollton, Poythress said he participated in sports year-round with the Carrollton Recreation Department, which exposed him to people from different backgrounds.

“I made lifelong friendships with different individuals and families. Being around people of different races and economic backgrounds allowed me to develop interpersonal relationship skills to communicate with all people. “

Poythress acknowledged the profound influence of former CHS teachers such as Ms.Melba Leggett, Ms. Rita Gentry, and Ms. Carrie Dothard, who he said played pivotal roles in shaping his aspirations and confidence.

“I was lucky to have a few teachers during my years in Carrollton who gave me confidence that I could do anything I wanted to do,” he said.

Poythress has received many recognitions over the span of his career. Some of his noteworthy achievements include receiving accolades for his exemplary work in hospital administration and effecting positive change in rural healthcare.

When he was CEO of Washington County Regional Medical Center, the hospital was awarded the 2018-2019 Best Medium Size Hospital in the state of Georgia. He is also a dedicated Georgia Hospital Association Rural Hospital board member and GHA audit committee member. 

Antoine Poythress, speaking to the audience at the 2024 honors night program, was inducted as the 20th recipient of the Carrollton High School Distinguished Alumni Award.

As just one of four African American CEOs in the state, Poythress said he has confronted many challenges as a minority in his field. 

“Being a minority has been a huge challenge,” he said. “I had to overcome prejudice and people's fears every time I entered a room.”

Yet, his determination has enabled him to break barriers and pave the way for future generations. 

Married for 21 years with a blended family, Poythress said he cherishes moments spent with loved ones and remains actively involved in sports, including tennis, golf, and weightlifting.

“I balance work and personal life with the help of my wife, Julia,” he said. “She keeps me focused on spending time with family and friends and helps create work-life balance with a schedule full of personal activities.”

Poythress’s legacy extends far beyond his professional accomplishments. He said he aspires to be remembered as a loving husband, father, and mentor who empowers others to reach their full potential. 

His dedication to developing future leaders and encouraging mentorship sets a strong example for generations.

“I want to leave behind a host of successful people whom I have mentored and my hope is that they will pay it forward by aspiring to help others,” said Poythress. 

Poythress joins an impressive list of distinguished alumni who have been recognized through this initiative. Launched in 2012,  the program to date has honored 16 other exceptional CHS graduates: Edith Foster, Class of 1922; Albert Jones and J. Stewart Martin, Class of 1930; J.Willis Hurst, Class of 1937; E.C. “Sonny” Bass, Class of 1938; Hollis Harris, Class of 1949; John H. Burson, Class of 1951; Richard M. Ingle, Class of 1964; D. Garvin Byrd, Class of 1969; Jane Crosson, Class of 1974; William Crosson, Class of 1976; Scott Deviney, Class of 1989; James C. Pope, Class of 1962; Shereta Williams, Class of 1992; Jim Borders, Class of 1979, Eric D. Cole, Class of 1994; and Mark Parkman, Class of 1983.  This slate includes the induction of two honorary alumni, W.W. Fitts, who was a founding member of the Carrollton Board of Education, and Tom Upchurch, former Carrollton City Schools superintendent and lifelong educator, who not only made a significant impact in education at home in Carrollton, but across the state of Georgia.