WC principal on leave for unspecified reasons VHS’ Creel chosen as interim principal

Published 11:44 pm Friday, November 11, 2011

Warren Central High School Principal Rodney Smith has been placed on unspecified leave “for a couple of weeks,” the head of the Vicksburg Warren School District confirmed Friday, but whether the leave is voluntary or the result of a suspension she would not say.

“I cannot address this issue at this time,” said Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Duran Swinford. “It’s either a personnel issue or a personal issue. There’s a difference between these issues and this falls under one of them.”

Zelmarine Murphy, president of the VWSD Board of Trustees, did not comment, calling it “a personnel issue.”

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Smith did not return a message left on his cell phone. Swinford said he was at WC for most of the day Thursday and his leave began that afternoon. He is expected to return Dec. 6, she said.

Taking over as interim principal in Smith’s absence will be Jamie Creel, moving over from Vicksburg High School where he is in his second year as assistant principal. Creel is also a former VHS baseball coach.

“We went with experience,” Swinford said of Creel’s selection over the assistants in place at WC. Creel will return to VHS when Smith comes back, she said.

Smith, an Alabama native, has been principal at WC since August 2009 when he was chosen to replace Pam Wilbanks, who retired. He previously worked in Madison County, Ala., and in a rural Montana school district.