Purdy school board makes new hires
Principal positions combined to eliminate elementary post
Major changes took shape in the faculty of the Purdy School District as the school board filled vacancies for the coming year.
Board members accepted the resignation of elementary principal Jeff Swadley, who leaves to take up the duties as Cassville High School principal for the coming school year. Swadley has been with the district since 2004.
After extensive research, the board opted to not replace Swadley and to instead combine positions down to two principals instead of three. Janet Boys, the middle school principal, will become principal for kindergarten through grade 6. Bob Vice, high school principal, will oversee the six upper grades.
"We didn't do it to save money," said Steven Chancellor, superintendent. "We felt that by doing two principals, it would force us to be more efficient. We're on the cusp with our student numbers between two and three principals. We're going to try it. We didn't turn the structure upside down. If we need to go back and add help later, we can."
The change triggered other duty reassignments. Swadley has served as coordinator for summer school, which begins on June 2. After Swadley set up the groundwork for the four-week session, Chancellor said most of the work was already done. Chancellor agreed to step in and run day-to-day operations, since he planned to be at the school anyway. The district contracts its curriculum for summer school from Edison Learning Inc.
Boys has served as the district's coordinator for federal programs for several years. Donna Terry, a Title 1 literacy coach, will take over as the new coordinator, with budgeting going to a committee that includes Chancellor, board secretary Anna Marie Erwin and Terry, plus possible help from Boys.
Vice will turn over his duties as yearbook supervisor to Ashley Mason, a business teacher for the middle and high school.
Kim Hall, a fifth-grade teacher, also resigned to take a position with the Cassville district.
All of the non-certified staff were rehired for the coming year. Chancellor said the only exception was Gary West, a Title 1 elementary teacher, whose position was dropped. Chancellor said the district may meet its needs better by using the money to hire more paraprofessionals.
Four new teachers were hired for the coming year:
* Kelsey Trammell was hired as a high school special education teacher. Originally from the East Newton area, Trammell is a recent graduate of Missouri State University and this will be her first teaching job.
* Debrah Shelton was hired as a first-grade teacher. Shelton is originally from Aurora and her husband's family farm, where the couple will live, is located in rural Monett.
* Abbi Blankenship was hired to teach middle school social studies. A College of the Ozarks graduate, Blankenship will take on her first teaching job.
* Tabitha Farris was hired to teach math at the middle school. Farris presently teaches at the Verona district.
Chancellor said one vacancy remains for a high school science teacher.
The school board had personnel matters of its own to address. Three-term incumbents Russ Neill and Mike Bennett and four-term incumbent Ronnie Veith, the only candidates to file for the April 8 election, were sworn in for another term. Board members voted to keep Randy Henderson as board chairman, and Veith as vice chairman.