2 principals, JROTC instructor retire in Lawrence

·4 min read

May 5—MOULTON — Lawrence County Schools Superintendent Jon Bret Smith said he can't remember two principals in the district retiring at the same time before, but that's the situation he is facing as the district also loses a longtime JROTC instructor to retirement.

At Monday night's meeting, the Lawrence County school board approved the retirements of Moulton Middle School Principal Tiletha Shelton, Moulton Elementary Principal Paige Terry and JROTC instructor Floyd Baker.

"I don't know if we've ever had people with that much dedication and knowledge leave our district at the end of a school year," he said. "When you take home the experience they have, it's going to be hard to replace."

Smith said the jobs are posted and "we hope to have some quality candidates. I certainly expect we'll have some of the assistants to apply."

He said the U.S. Army will help find a replacement for Baker, who worked in the system for 17 years.

The effective date of both principals' retirements is Sept. 1. Baker's retirement takes effect July 1.

Smith said the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund II has provided money to help the district close the learning gap that may have been created because of the disruption in schooling caused by COVID-19.

On Monday night, the board hired more than 70 teachers to be paid $200 a day to work summer enrichment, reading and math camps for students. ESSER II money is used for the camps, Smith said.

Smith said a spike in sales tax revenue has the district in strong financial shape and will allow the district to add four locally funded teachers.

He said the general fund budget is $9.3 million with sales tax revenue up 14.5% from last year. He said that's an increase of $312,000. "This allows us to hire additional teachers, buy new desks and furniture for Moulton Elementary, buy updated weight equipment for the athletic facilities," he said.

The board approved the $3.77 million bid of Highland Wake Construction LLC of Foley to construct athletic field houses at Lawrence County High, Hatton High and East Lawrence High. John Hitt of Volkert, construction manager of the project, told the board construction could begin in 30 days and would take four to five months. He said the walls of the facilities are on back order and he expects a completion date sometime in March.

The money comes from an $8 million bond that also will help pay for work on the replacement of the 1936 portion of Moulton Elementary, R.A. Hubbard gym and Career Tech expansion. Bids have not been let on those projects, Smith said. The board will also receive $5 million more from the state to help fund the improvements and the state money will not have to be repaid, Smith said.

The next school board meeting will be May 24 at 6 p.m.

In certified personnel transactions, the board approved:

—Resignations, effective May 28: Kirsta Murphree, agriscience teacher, Hatton High; Jason Clark, social science teacher, East Lawrence High; Robert Scott Ellis, physical education teacher, Hatton Elementary; Alisa White, teacher, Hazlewood Elementary; Ralph Marshall, science teacher, R.A. Hubbard School; and Danielle Wilson, special education teacher, Mount Hope.

—Retirements: Janet McDonald, special education teacher, countywide; Tiletha Shelton, principal, Moulton Middle; Paige Terry, principal, Moulton Elementary; Trina Clark, teacher, Speake Elementary; and Floyd Baker, JROTC instructor, Lawrence County High.

—Terminations: Callie Henderson-Holcombe, band/music teacher, R.A. Hubbard/Hazlewood Elementary; Charlotte Atwood, science teacher, Hatton High; Bailey Watkins Morrison, secondary teacher, Hatton High; Jared Pollard, social science teacher, Hatton High; and Jennifer Long, teacher, East Lawrence Elementary.

—Employment: Jessica Kelley, teacher, East Lawrence Elementary; Hunter Lee, band/music teacher, East Lawrence High; Trista Clark, math teacher, R.A. Hubbard; Tanner Tesney, math teacher, East Lawrence High; Melissa Simmons, countywide virtual elementary teacher; Hollie Henderson, teacher, Moulton Elementary; Courtney Watts, elementary teacher/high-dosage tutor, East Lawrence Middle; Trenton Roden, math teacher/high dosage tutor.

—External transfers: Larry Kimbrough, math teacher at Hatton High to countywide virtual math teacher at Family Education Campus; Cody Wilkerson, English teacher at Lawrence County High to countywide virtual English teacher at Family Education Campus; Tara Reed, Hatton Elementary teacher to countywide virtual elementary teacher at Family Education Campus; Tyra Orr, Pre-K teacher at Moulton Elementary to elementary teacher/high-dosage tutor at Hazlewood Elementary; Abbie Carpenter, elementary teacher at Moulton Middle School to reading specialist at Mount Hope; Jamie Suggs, social science teacher at Moulton Middle to social science teacher at East Lawrence Middle; Teri Ferguson, math teacher at Lawrence County High to math teacher/high-dosage tutor at East Lawrence High; Brett Vance, social science teacher at Moulton Middle to English teacher at East Lawrence High; Kasey Blankenship, science teacher at Lawrence County High to science teacher at East Lawrence High; Amy Oliver, elementary teacher at Hatton Elementary to English/language arts/high-dosage tutor at Hatton High; and Tara Martin, math teacher at Hatton High to math teacher at Lawrence County High.

mike.wetzel@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2442. Twitter @DD_Wetzel.