All but one principal to return for ’12-’13

Published 11:58 am Thursday, February 23, 2012

All 15 principals in the Vicksburg Warren School District — except Warren Central High School’s former chief, Rodney Smith — will return for the 2012-2013 school year, Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Swinford said Wednesday night.

Smith will resign at the end of the current school year, she said.

At its monthly business meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the slate of appointments as recommended by Swinford. Interim Warren Central High School Principal Jamie Creel was added to the list after a two-hour executive session that included “review of principals’ job performance and character.”

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Swinford said the move means the term “interim” has been dropped from Creel’s title for the remainder of this year.

Formerly assistant principal at Vicksburg High School, Creel was moved to Warren Central as interim principal in November to replace Smith, who was suspended for two weeks for an unspecified “personnel matter,” and, on his return, reassigned to duties at the district office.

Swinford said Smith will serve out his contract in the central office and resign effective June 30.

Smith did not respond to a message left this morning on his cell phone. Addressing trustees in January, he said he was the target of retaliation and lies after he filed a complaint against an assistant superintendent and requested reinstatement. Trustees unanimously denied the request.

Board president Zelmarine Murphy, who represents District 2, had earlier called for the WCHS principal position to be advertised, but reversed herself and voted in favor of appointing Creel without posting the job and seeking other applicants.

Both of the district’s assistant superintendents, Debra Hullum, who oversees operations, and Paula Johnson, over curriculum and instruction, were also reappointed Wednesday night, as well as directors and supervisors in special education, finance and accounting, transportation and other departments.

In addition to their business agenda, trustees heard updates from principals of the two schools in the district are working under “school at risk” action plans.

Dr. Michael Winters of Vicksburg Junior High School and Tanya Magee of Warren Central Intermediate told board members they have implemented professional development to make coursework and class discussions tougher, target higher-level thinking and reasoning and improve the instruction to students of different abilities.

Winters and Magee provided a summary of benchmark test results that showed improvements in some areas, with continued work needed in others.

The two will report each month to trustees.

On the agenda

Meeting Wednesday, the Vicksburg Warren School District Board of Trustees:

• Approved minutes from Jan. 26.

• Accepted a cash grant for Redwood Elementary, $1,000 from International Paper Foundation to purchase reference books for the library; a cash donation for Dana Road Elementary, $213.79 from MNM Enterprises, dba McDonald’s, for student awards and activities; and capital equipment donations, for Bowmar Elementary School, two Dell computers valued at $300 each from Ergon; for school resource officers, a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria and a 2004 Ford Taurus, each valued at $7,500, from the Warren County Sheriff’s Department; and for Warren Central High School and Vicksburg High School, two Dell laptops valued at $1,500 each for the TV 16 offices from Playon Sports.

• Approved amendments to the 2011-12 budget through January and the accounts payable claims docket for February.

• Approved personnel matters: compensation for extra duties, January; certified staff recommendations; certified staff change-in-status; certified staff resignations; classified staff recommendations; classified change-in-status recommendation; and salary schedule for curriculum and instructional specialists to move them off teacher salary schedules.

• Approved requests to delete unusable items from capital asset lists; delete an Apple iPad reported stolen from Beechwood Elementary School from the capital asset list; and begin bid process on surplus capital assets.

• Approved out-of-state travel for: Sherman Avenue Elementary art teacher Rebecca Lancaster to attend the National Art Educators Association convention in New York, Wednesday-March 4; Vicksburg Intermediate School principal Sharon Williams, staff and students to go to New Orleans Sept. 8 as a reward for scoring Advanced or Proficient on MCT2 tests; district federal programs director Laura Prather to attend the National Association of Federal Education Program Administrators in Washington, D.C., March 25-28; school nutrition director Gail Kavanaugh to attend the School Nutrition Association Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C., March 2-7; Project SYNC director Sherrie Williams and five others to attend the Strategic Planning for Sustainability meeting in Washington, D.C., April 18-19; six special education faculty members to attend the Council for Exceptional Children convention and expo in Denver, April 11-14; SPED director Eddie Spann to attend a Legal Research Publication conference in San Antonio, May 6-9; five faculty to attend the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics convention in Philadelphia, Pa., April 25-28.

• Ratified Jan. 30 telephone poll of board members to change the date of the February meeting.

• Approved updated district policy regarding homeless students.

• Approved beginning bid process for milk, bread and produce.

• Reviewed revisions to the board’s Workers Compensation policy to require drug and alcohol testing for employees who are injured on the job and need medical attention. The board will vote on the policy change in March.

In closed session, the board:

• Considered student transfers and voted to deny one and approve one.

• Heard from a parent with concerns.

• For a student ruled ineligible to participate in athletics by MHSAA, approved a waiver process that will allow the student to practice.

• Upheld the superintendent’s reassignment of a teacher to a different position within the building.

• Discussed the job performance and character of a principal.