Welcome to work!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Tribune photo by Clint Confehr School Board member Kristen Gold, left, shares a moment with Schools Director Jackie Abernathy, right, at the central office where iced tea and finger food were served during a reception for new employees.

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Marshall County Schools Director Jackie Abernathy held a reception recently for new administrators so they could meet the school board, other leaders and be welcomed to town.

The unstructured mingle and meet event was on Thursday, July 12, during the hour before the monthly meeting of the Board of Education. At least three new hires from other school systems were present with at least three county educators with new jobs.

Refreshments included more than punch and cookies. Conversation was mostly light, and the pending school board meeting included a unanimous vote for a proposed budget for schools with pay raises based on a more serious session a couple of days earlier when the board met in joint session with the county commission's budget and education committees.

It's easier to pull raises out of a budget than it is to add the dollar amounts, Abernathy concluded.

During the reception held to make sure Abernathy's team could connect faces with names and job titles, it was clear that people working in education had tales to tell and experiences to share.

Jackie Morris is the coordinator of special education and federal programs. She's working at the school system's central office at Jones Circle. She, her husband, and their 17-year-old son - he's a rising senior at Eagleville High School - live at what the family calls the Morris Compound in Eagleville. It's called that because there's another house where their daughter, son-in-law and grandson live. Morris taught in Murfreesboro City Schools for 13 years. She's been a team leader, but this is her first administrative job. She's also worked at the shelter for battered spouses in Murfreesboro.

Marshall Elementary School's new principal is Sonya Booker Cathey of Spring Hill. She was raised in Hampshire, and taught 5th grade math at the Culleoka Unit School. During her 15 years in education, she's been the principal at Milan Middle School and worked at the Tennessee Department of Education dealing with TCAP (Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program) testing for grades 3-8. "It was very interesting," she said. She has two children: an 18-year-old at Carson Newman in East Tennessee and a 12-year-old who will carpool with her mother for her year as a 7th grader.

Cheryl Ewing, the immediate past assistant principal at Lewisburg Middle School, is the new principal at Cornersville Elementary School. Ewing lives in Lewisburg and this will be her first year as a principal. She's a 1976 graduate of Marshall County High School.

Ginger Tepedino is the school system's new attendance coordinator and the coordinator of Educational Information Service and guidance services and the TEAM (Tennessee Educator Accelerator Model) Data Systems configurator. She was a guidance counselor at MES.

Tammy Lewis is the system's new coordinator of elementary instruction. Previously she was the instructional facilitator at Oak Grove Elementary School. Prior to that she worked at MES.

Beth Wright is the system's deputy director in charge of curriculum and instruction. Wright grew up in Murfreesboro, worked in the Williamson County school system and was the schools superintendent at Florence County School District Three in Lake City, S.C.

Meanwhile, Ken Lee, who was an assistant director over testing and technical programs, will be the assistant principal at Marshall County High School.

Beth Smith is the new coordinator of secondary education. Previously she taught English at MCHS.

Deborah Wade has been a teacher at Chapel Hill Elementary School, the principal at MES and is now the coordinator of the coordinated school health program at the central office where she previously worked in a similar capacity.

Janet Wiles has been the school system's budget director, but during a period of unrest at headquarters she resigned. Abernathy brought Wiles back in a position that was to have expired at the end of June. Wiles continues in a part-time capacity with no stated end date. She explained that the work is more time consuming now that the annual budget is being developed. Thereafter, she would presumably work fewer hours.

As previously announced, Julie Thomas is the new human resources coordinator.

Approximately 16 jobs remain to be filled, Thomas said.

They include three elementary teaching jobs, three assistant principal jobs, four high school teaching jobs, various teacher assistant jobs, six cafeteria worker jobs and a special education bus assistant's position, Thomas said.