By Chris Kieffer
TUPELO – The Tupelo Public School District filled principal vacancies at two of its elementary schools and hired a pair of high school principals from neighboring school districts on Tuesday.
The district announced Amy Barnett will be the new principal at Rankin Elementary, and Art Dobbs will hold that position at Pierce Street Elementary. Each had been assistant principals in the district. Barnett was at Pierce Street, and Dobbs was at Tupelo High.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work with phenomenal educators,” Barnett said. “I’ve worked with administrators who have pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to improve. I’m extremely happy to continue to work with the district in a new capacity.”
They will fill the district’s two principal vacancies created by the retirement of Milam Principal Travis Beard and the resignation of Pierce Street Principal Kenneth Goralczyk to take another job. Rankin Principal Paul Moton will move to Milam.
“This is one of the most exciting times I’ve had in my educational career,” Dobbs said. “That’s because of the anticipation of getting to work with a staff like they have at Pierce Street. They have the whole package, a wonderful faculty and wonderful students and parents.”
Meanwhile, the district also announced Baldwyn High School Principal Adam Lindsey and Nettleton High School Principal Melissa Thomas will be assistant principals at Tupelo High. That school had two assistant principal vacancies after moves by Dobbs and by Genevieve McAlpin – who will become the district’s new special education director.
In other moves announced on Tuesday, Milam Elementary Assistant Principal Niki Peel will be the district’s instructional technology coordinator. Pierce Street teacher L.V. McNeal will become assistant principal at Milam, and Tracey Taylor will become assistant principal at Pierce Street and will continue to serve as the district’s arts integration coordinator. Taylor had been both arts integration and grants coordinator.
Peel’s job is a revamped one that will focus on integrating technology in the classroom.
All of the moves were approved by the district’s school board on Tuesday. The district had 34 applicants for its principal positions and 65 for its assistant principal spots, Superintendent Gearl Loden said.
“We were very pleased with the applicant pool,” he said.