Southwest Elementary hires new principal

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Diamond Elementary principal to replace Randall in August


The Southwest R-5 School District has hired a new elementary principal, Jeff Payne, to replace Judy Randall, who is retiring after 24 years at the post.

Payne submitted his resignation to the Diamond school board, where he was elementary principal, effective June 31. His contract with Southwest begins Aug. 1.

"Jeff is replacing a good administrator who has been here a long time," said Bob Walker, Southwest superintendent. "He is stepping into a good situation. Anytime we bring in someone new, they will have new ideas to share," Walker said.

Walker said out of the 15 applicants for the position, Payne was chosen because of his quality experience.

"There seems to be good things going on at Southwest, and we will continue those things," Payne said. "First, I will talk to the staff and the parents, and build relationships. Then, I will see if there is any room for improvement. Once I get a feel for the district, we can see what direction we want to go in."

According to Payne, the transition is coming at an ideal time, as his daughter will be starting kindergarten next year.

"We're ready to settle," Payne said. "We don't want our kids to have to relocate and leave friends. We want to keep them in the same school all the way through."

Payne said he and his wife have always wanted to move south because they love the mountain and hill region and all the lakes, and they hope to buy a house and land in the district.

Payne has been Diamond Elementary principal for two years and the assistant principal of Carthage Middle School for two years. He taught seventh-grade science at Webb City Junior High for four years and sixth-grade science at Osawatomie Middle School in Kansas for two years.

Payne has a master's of educational leadership from Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan., and a bachelor's of science in elementary education from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.

His 11-month salary at Southwest Elementary School will be $63,000. His salary at Diamond is $63,950.

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