By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – The Water Valley School board approved the hiring Ezzard Beane as the new principal at Davidson Elementary School Monday night. Beane, who currently serves as an assistant principal at Grenada High School, will be formally introduced to the faculty on Thursday afternoon at the elementary school cafeteria. His employment with the Water Valley School District starts July 1.
School trustees accepted the recommendation from Superintendent Dr. Michael McInnis to hire Beane during executive session, but McInnis provided details about the selection process during the open meeting.
“We are very excited,” McInnis reported, adding that Beane was the top pick from a field of about 45 applicants. “We had very strong candidates for the job.”
McInnis also explained that a committee composed of Water Valley High School Principal Drew Pitcock, CTE Director Michael Cook and teachers Keli Lindsey, Trenisha Weekley and Lisa Dettor helped with the hiring process.
“They weeded down the applicants to the top five,” the superintendent explained.
McInnis also said that hiring an assistant principal for the elementary school is the next step, and the district also has numerous applicants seeking the position.
“We were not going to hire an assistant principal until we hired the principal,” McInnis added, explaining that input from the new principal will be part of the selection process.
Other business discussed at the meeting:
• Trustees approved a recommendation from Cook to implement a new vocational program at the high school, Law and Public Safety.
“It is one of the fastest growing programs in the state,” McInnis reported about the two-year vocational program.
Cook said the Law and Public Safety program will replace Business Fundamentals, a vocational program at the high school that will be phased out at the end of the school year. He also said student interest in the program was a factor in the selection.
“The main focus of the program is criminal justice,” Cook told trustees. He also said a former law enforcement officer who also has teaching credentials has been identified as a prospect to teach the course.
• Opted not to seek a quote to determine the cost of installing a heating and cooling system in the high school school gym after learning that the district would receive a second $30,000 cut from the state.
“It looks like we are going to be cut about $60,000,” Pierce Epes noted about the state cuts to education. Epes presided over the meeting in the absence of Taylor Trusty. Board member Lamar Burgess was also absent from the meeting.
Installing the heating and cooling system in the gym has been discussed in recent meetings and the school district’s maintenance supervisor, Craig King, estimated the cost would be between $60,000 and $70,000.