By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – The principal of Plantersville Middle School soon will lead the Lee County School District’s alternative school.
Pam Blissard will be replaced by Shannon Middle School Assistant Principal Rodney Spears. Both moves take effect when students return from Christmas break.
They come in the wake of Superintendent Jimmy Weeks’ Sept. 27 decision to fire Ralph Green, who had been principal of the Belden Center, the district’s alternative school.
Weeks said he could not comment on the reason for Green’s termination because of personnel privacy laws. The move is still pending an appeal before a hearing officer. The district’s school board must then vote on whether or not to uphold it.
Retired Lee County Principal Craig Cherry has been leading the Belden Center in the interim.
Blissard said she is excited about her new assignment because she has long wanted to help students who have struggled with poor behavior. Students are sent to the alternative school for discipline issues, although the district plans to reinstall next semester a program for those who are struggling academically.
“I feel I work well with students with behavior problems, and I have a rapport with those students,” said Blissard, who has been an educator for 15 years. “I feel I have something to offer them.”
Weeks said he chose Blissard for the position because of her interest and her background in special education. He said he chose Spears because of his experience in the district and at the middle school level.
Blissard has led Plantersville since January, following the sudden death of former principal Bill Horton last December. Prior to that, she was an assistant principal at Shannon Elementary and a teacher at Shannon High.
Spears is in his 18th year as an educator. He is in his fourth year at Shannon Middle. He spent three years at Pontotoc High School, including two years as the school’s principal. His career began at New Albany High School, and he also taught at Saltillo High for seven years, including one as assistant principal.
“Our goal will be to go in there and have each student be as successful as they can be with us pushing higher expectations and higher student opportunities for success and creating a sense of pride,” he said. “We want to get the community and the parents involved. This has to be a team effort.”