By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Former Tupelo High School choral director Calvin Ellis has landed a new job in another state.
Ellis, whose dismissal from THS sparked much local interest, was recently hired as one of two choral directors at Opelika High School in Opelika, Ala. The city is located near Auburn, and the school had 1,280 students in 2008-09, the last year for which a profile is available on the Alabama Department of Education website.
The two choral directors will oversee two show choirs, Ovations (co-ed) and Impressions (all girls), as well as a chamber choir, women’s chamber choir and a show choir.
“Their choral program has a strong tradition,” Ellis said.
Ellis was dismissed from his job last October and given a list of 23 charges against him. He insisted he was innocent and contested them in a public personnel hearing held over 10 days in December, January and February. The school board upheld his firing.
Members of the community were split over the issue. A large group of his supporters, dubbed “Team Ellis,” created a Facebook page, wrote messages of support on their cars, held meetings and attended his hearing.
Ellis said he leaves with an appreciation for the support he received.
“Despite all of the negatives with the stuff going on in the district involving me this year, this town has our heart,” Ellis said. “We love it here, and we love the people.”
He is still living in Tupelo, but expects to move in July with his wife, Jauna, son Caleb, 5, and daughter, Carrington, 18 months.