By Michaela Gibson Morris
Tupelo School Board of Trustees approved Jason Harris as the new principal of Tupelo High School at its meeting Tuesday.
The board approved Harris and five other school leadership positions unanimously.
Harris, who has served as principal at Joyner Elementary, a kindergarten-second grade school, will officially start Friday. He takes over the position held by Lee Stratton, who was tapped to serve as the executive director as athletics and extracurricular activities.
Before joining the Tupelo Public School District four years ago, Harris’ education career was exclusively in middle and high school education. He taught and served as an administrative positions in his home state of Virginia before becoming an assistant principal at Columbus High School in Mississippi. All of those schools averaged between 1,400 and 1,800 students. Tupelo High School has approximately 2,000 students.
Harris came to Tupelo as an assistant principal at the then fourth-sixth grade Lawndale Elementary before taking over the kindergarten-second grade Joyner Elementary.
Other leadership changes approved Tuesday:
• Evet Topp was named associate principal at Tupelo High School. The new role will be in addition to her work as director of the THS Career Center. Interim Superintendent David Meadows said her skills will complement Harris’ and will provide a clear chain of command.
• Kimberly Foster, who is currently the assistant principal at Rankin, was approved as Joyner principal. She has previously served as a teacher and administrative intern at Tupelo Middle School.
• Kenneth McGaha was named assistant principal at Tupelo Middle School. McGaha comes to Tupelo from a position as an assistant principal at Columbus High School.
• Tyrone Catledge, who has been a teacher at Tupelo High School for seven years, has been named assistant principal at Lawndale Elementary.
• Tim Matlock, who has served as the band director at Tupelo Middle School and assistant high school band director, was named THS Band Director.
Searches are in progress for Rankin Elementary assistant principal and Tupelo Middle School band director. The high school will have four assistant principals. Currently one of the positions is open. The Tupelo district has approximately 29 open licensed positions for teachers and administrators.
The board approved 54 licensed staff members earlier in Tuesday’s meeting.