John McCullough named principal at SSHS

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

John McCullough, assistant principal at Sulphur Springs High School, will step up to fill the top office on that campus beginning July 1. 

McCullough replaces Chuck King, who has been employed with Sulphur Springs Independent School District for 18 years.

King said although he won't officially step down until the end of the 2006-2007 school year, he handed in his resignation at the Feb. 5 school board meeting in order to give school officials plenty of time to name a replacement and begin working toward the transition.

King said he would make himself available to assist whoever the board appoints to fill his post next year to help ease them into the position during the transition.

The board called a special meeting on Monday, when they appointed McCullough to serve as principal beginning in the 2007-2008 school year. 

McCullough has been employed at SSISD for eight of his 14 years as an educator. At SSISD he has served as a teacher and a coach and is currently an assistant principal.

"In handling discipline at the high school, John has had many opportunities to be in the 'hot seat' and has had successful experiences working with students, staff and parents," SSISD Superintendent Patsy Bolton said of school officials' recommendation that the board appoint McCullough the new principal at SSHS. "He was an excellent classroom teacher and will be involved in the instructional program in his new position. John is consistent and thorough and has the ability to make tough decisions."

Bolton also noted that McCullough will be involved in the implementation of a number of changes at SSHS, requirements outlined in House Bill 1 which outlined a number of educational changes from the preschool and early education programs up to high school, administrative, board and community levels.

The most often referred to and publicized changes in the Education Code resulting from HB1 are those regarding the school start date, elections, optional flexible school day program, equalized wealth level, attendance credits, basic revenue allotment, additional state aid for tax reduction, and a number of other tax related topics.

McCullough will work with high school staff and other administrators to implement new requirements calling for students to take four years of English, math, social studies and science, an early high school graduation program, and a host of stipulations outlined in HB 1. 

McCullough will continue to fulfill all of his current responsibilities as assistant principal through the end of the school year while working with King to learn his new duties and participating  in as much of the preparation process for next year as possible.

Administrators will post the opening for McCullough's position, then depending on how long that process takes and who is hired, will post further openings as they become known. 

Officials will first "look inside the district" for qualified employees to fill McCullough's position. If a local candidate is not appointed, the district will look at resumés from candidates outside the district, Bolton said. The district will try to fill the posts as quickly as possible to ensure "good applicants" are available, as most schools begin filling openings in the spring.

McCullough will be involved in the hiring process of someone to assume his duties as well as to fill spots at the high school left open due to resignations or retirements.

McCullough is slated to be out of town at a training workshop until Wednesday, and thus could not be reached for comment regarding his new appointment.

King said his decision to retire was made as a means to allow him and his wife time to enjoy both their family and leisure while they are still healthy. King's wife is also retiring as a middle school teacher at the end of the year, 

Their current plans include spending a few months' "trying to relax and chill," and see where they end up. He said he most likely will look for a part time post doing something different after that.

They also intended to remain in Sulphur Springs, where they have been employed at SSISD for 18 years. King considers Sulphur Springs home, due to the supportive people and relationships formed in the community and church. 

"We're at peace with it. We've done this for so long. It's time to do something new," King said. "I'm excited about it."

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