Lee school district shuffles a handful of its principals

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

Two Lee County high school principals will leave schools where they have worked for more than 15 years as the district reshuffles several of its administrators.
Shannon High School Principal Stephen Peugh will become the district’s vocational director, and Mooreville High School Principal Robert Smith will replace him, Superintendent Mike Scott announced Tuesday.
Mooreville Middle School Principal Craig Cherry will move to Mooreville High School, and Mooreville Middle Assistant Principal Adam Lindsey will become that school’s principal.
“It is about getting the right people in the right seat on the bus,” Scott said. “Each person is a better fit for the job they’re about to undertake.”
The changes will have no impact on the district’s budget, Scott said. The district will not fill the assistant principal position at Mooreville Midddle School, meaning Tuesday’s moves will not add any employees to the district’s payroll.
The district did not have a vocational director previously. Those duties had been handled by the assistant superintendent.
The district gets reimbursed from the state for a vocational director and will use that money for part of Peugh’s salary.
Smith has been principal at Mooreville High School for 16 years, but does have ties at Shannon High School, where he once taught and coached.
“Mooreville is a great school and a great community and there are a lot of great kids there,” Smith said. “It is hard to leave Mooreville, but my drive was what was best for the district.”
Smith said he is inspired by the challenge to improve Shannon High, which has about 650 students.
“I want to get to know the students and the parents in the community and build a rapport with them,” Smith said. “I see it as a great opportunity.”
Smith will be one of two new principals in Shannon; Keith Steele will take over the middle school.
“We now have two principals at Shannon High School and Shannon Middle School who have each led their schools to Level 5 status in consecutive years for several years,” Scott said, referring to the high academic standing each earned under the previous state achievement standards.
Peugh had been at Shannon for 19 years, including the last three as the high school’s principal.
“I will really miss all of the teachers and coaches and faculty I’ve worked with for the past 19 years,” Peugh said. “A few have been there the whole time I’ve been there.”
He said he’s ready for a different routine without the pressure of state standardized tests and accreditation levels.
“The biggest thing is that the day-to-day stress is not going to be there,” he said.
Peugh will work with the teachers of agriculture, home economics and technology discovery classes on all three high school campuses.
He also will conduct discipline hearings and make recommendations on student residency and transfer requests, among other duties.
“He’s a great organizer and time manger, and I think he will do an excellent job as vocational director,” Scott said.
Meanwhile, Cherry and Lindsey will both become principals at schools where they are familiar. Mooreville High School’s enrollment is about 460, and the middle school is roughly 280.
“Craig Cherry is a perfect fit for Mooreville High School,” Scott said. “He’s been at the middle school for several years. It will be a familiar face for the kids. He’s done an excellent job at the middle school, and he will move Mooreville High School to a different level, just as Robert will do at Shannon.
“This is a good opportunity for Adam Lindsey, who has been identified as one of our young upcoming leaders, to step in and take more responsibility.”
All three Mooreville schools will have new principals next year. Joanna Peugh also begins her first year at the helm of Mooreville Elementary.
Scott said the district is also in the process of building a curriculum department by reassigning staff currently located within the district.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or chris.kieffer@djournal.com.