By David Howell
WATER VALLEY – The Water Valley School Board voted to hire Valeree Ellis-Barnes as the assistant principal at Davidson Elementary School (DES) during the April 3 school board meeting. This marks the second administrative hire at DES, as Ezzard Beane was tapped as the principal at the school last month.
“I am very excited about the skills and attributes that she is going to bring to the school. She has a clear sense of direction of where the school needs to go,” Superintendent Dr. Michael McInnis told the Herald after the meeting. “She has bought into our vision of excellence and student-centered instruction.”
Ellis-Barnes currently serves as an academic coach in the Leflore County Public School District in Greenwood. She has also previously served as a principal at the North Panola School District in Sardis.
McInnis also said a lot of recruiting went into hiring both new administrators, who have strong experience and can help move the school up to the next level. He cited a strong committee selected to lead the hiring process. Committee members assisting with the applicant selection and interview process included Water Valley High School Principal Drew Pitcock, CTE Director Michael Cook and teachers Keli Lindsey, Trenisha Weekley and Lisa Dettor.
Other business conducted at the meeting included:
• Approved the 2017-18 school calendar. Teachers will report for duty on July 31 and classes start on Monday, August 7.
• Changed the early release guidelines for seniors for the school year. Currently the seniors can leave after fourth period. In the 2017-18 school year, seniors will not be allowed to leave until after fifth period with two exceptions – if a senior is taking a dual enrollment class that is not offered by the school district, or if they are involved in the careers pathways program and have a job.
• Postponed indefinitely a plan to install a new heating and cooling system at the high school gym due to almost $450,000 in expected budget cuts from the state for the coming school year.