By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – A former Milam Elementary School teacher is returning to the school to lead it.
Rankin Elementary Principal Paul Moton will move to Milam next year, replacing Travis Beard, who will retire at the end of the current school year, his 43rd year as an educator.
Meanwhile, Tupelo High School Assistant Principal Genevieve McAlpin will become the district’s new special education director, succeeding Mary Ruth Wright, who is relocating.
Both moves were announced on Tuesday and approved by the district’s school board.
Moton has been an educator for 15 years, including the last three as Rankin’s principal. He’s had two stints teaching math at Milam that covered a total of seven years and also has taught in Cleveland and Leland.
Moton has been an administrative intern at Tupelo Middle School and was director of the district’s High School Advancement Academy.
“Mr. Moton’s commitment to enhancing curriculum and achieving high results is evident in Rankin’s state achievement ranking,” Tupelo Superintendent Gearl Loden said.
Moton said he will have a hard time leaving Rankin but appreciates the opportunity to make an impact at the school where all of the district’s sixth-graders come together.
“Excellence is the only option, and we will strive to be one of the leading schools in the state,” he said.
McAlpin, meanwhile, is in her first year at Tupelo High School after five years in Rankin County, including a stint as assistant director of special education. Prior to that, she taught in Pittsburgh and was a school psychologist in Maryland before moving to Mississippi with her husband, Luke, a Tupelo High School graduate.
“I have a passion for helping students who respond to a variety of different teaching methods and helping teachers develop relationships with their students and learn more about how to help them be successful,” she said, adding that she had a great experience at THS.
McAlpin will begin making a transition to the new job.
The district will begin the search for both replacements immediately. It also will survey Rankin Elementary’s teachers to learn what they would like in its principal.
It hopes to fill them at next month’s school board meeting.