Yantis school board has had a busy summer, meeting several times in special sessions to fill staff openings. School trustees, in fact, met again Friday evening in special session to consider two additional hirings.
Yantis Superintendent Penny Armstrong attributed the number of openings primarily to retirements and staff moving, along with spouses who attained positions in other areas.
Tonya Rabenaldt and Sofia Terrell are the new ag science teachers. Ag teacher Alicia Moore’s duties ceased a few months before school was out, according to school reports. Armstrong said she legally was unable to comment on the nature of Moore’s absence, only that Moore was “just not the right person for the job.” Additionally, the superintendent confirmed the reason was not of a criminal nature.
To finish out the school year, a retired agriculture teacher and another staff member certified to teach agriculture were called on to serve in the classroom, Armstrong said.
One position filled this summer, that of junior high reading teacher, was a new position.
“We felt the kids needed reading and writing separate, so we added the position. It’s a position that was eliminated, I believe, a few years ago when there were cuts to budgets. We’re adding it back in,” Armstrong noted.
Tammy Plunkett was hired as the junior high reading teacher. Also joining the junior high staff for the 2013-14 school year are Chelsea Cockrum and Shannon Hague. Cockrum will teach math and Hague will teach English language arts.
At elementary, Melissa Johnson has been hired to teach fourth and fifth grade math and Julie Hill is the new pre-kindergarten teacher. Sirena Speed was hired Friday as a fourth grade writing teacher.
Joining the coaching staff are Chris McCarty, Jamie Gilliland and Ken Butler. In addition to coaching, McCarty will also teach high school math. Butler will serve as head boys basketball coach and teach social studies. Gilliland will coach volleyball and serve as classroom proctor for students learning Spanish utilizing the computer room set up with Odyssey Wear software.
Chris Tomison is the new technology director.
Anne Stone was hired to perform custodial duties. Jesse Underwood was hired as maintenance director and HVAC services and Michael Burnett as a maintenance staff.
“Things are going so smoothly,” Armstrong said of routine summer upgrades and repairs which the pair has undertaken. “Mr. Underwood and Burnett are doing a great job.”
Armstrong noted that several of the new staff are local or area individuals. Burnett and Cockrum both reside locally. McCarty and Hague are from the Emory area. Gilliland is returning to teach at her alma mater. Tomison too is from the area, an alum of North Hopkins High.
“Quite a few are local,” Armstrong said. “During interviews, if we had people with equal qualifications and if one was local and met specifications, we usually go with local. You want people with your kids who know your community, someone who not only understands strategies but know the kids themselves and outside factors that affect education and learning. We’re getting excited for the new year.”
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