Jefferson City Public Schools announced Tuesday a group of job hires for the 2018-19 school year to fill several key positions, from the preschool level through high school.
JCPS announced who will be the principals at Southwest Early Childhood Center, West and North elementary schools, and Lewis and Clark Middle School.
The district also announced Dawn Day will be an elementary administrative intern, Robert Ndessokia will be the activities director for Capital City High School, and Chad Rizner will be the activities director for Jefferson City High School.
Day currently is a fifth-grade teacher at Moreau Heights Elementary School and in her first year with JCPS. She also has 10 years of teaching and two years of administration experience.
Ndessokia and Rizner are currently assistant activities directors for the district. The district also recently hired Ehren Earleywine as the district-wide activities director.
Sarah Wilding will be the principal at Southwest. Wilding has been the assistant principal at Southwest for the past eight years and is no stranger to the building and its programs.
"I can walk into this position, and we can keep moving on with our mission," she said Tuesday. "We don't have any down time. I'm going to hit the ground running."
She also worked 17 years as a psychological examiner in the district's Early Childhood Special Education Program. She previously worked in Kansas for four years, was a guidance counselor at Belair and Lawson elementary schools for two years before that, and was a reading specialist at East Elementary School for two years prior to being a counselor.
"I think the impact that early childhood can bring to that larger picture is huge," she said of working toward the district's long-term goal of having all students reading at or above grade level. She added reading instruction is something Southwest will focus on in teacher preparation.
Wilding is taking the position currently held by Nicole Langston, after Langston took a position with Columbia Public Schools, according to a news release from JCPS. The Columbia Missourian reported Langston left to be director of preschool for Columbia.
Heather Beaulieu will take Brandi Fatherley's position as principal of West Elementary. Fatherley will transfer to North Elementary as principal after Barb Martin's retirement. Fatherley joined JCPS in 2011 to be West's principal, and she has 20 years of experience, including 12 as an elementary principal.
Beaulieu currently is principal of Parkway Elementary School in the St. Joseph School District. She said she was attracted to Jefferson City and West because she has worked with current JCPS administrators in the past — Chief of Learning Brian Shindorf and Callaway Hills Elementary School Principal Todd Shalz when they both worked in St. Joseph.
"I know they're forward thinkers and make decisions best for kids," she added of her impression of JCPS's mentality.
She said Parkway is a high-poverty school — 100 percent of its students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch — but that's not the only part of her experience that's prepared her for working with JCPS. She said her work "implementing innovative instructional practices," work with technology, with raising attendance and parent involvement also will be useful in Jefferson City. She hopes to meet West's staff early next month.
She has 16 years of teaching experience, spent two years as an administrative intern and has three years of elementary principal experience.
Deanne Fisher will be principal of Lewis and Clark Middle School after Sherri Thomas retires at the end of this year.
Fisher has been principal at Jefferson City Academic Center since the beginning of it — this is her 11th year on the job.
"It was a really hard decision because this is a very special place for me," she said of her decision to move on to Lewis and Clark. "We've saved a whole bunch of lives here," she added of JCAC.
She said she will miss working with her staff and watching students who "really want to make some changes in their life and graduate from high school" accomplish exactly that, even when many never thought they would.
"I have aspirations to be at a big high school," she said, though, so taking the middle school principalship is a logical career move for her.
She said Lewis and Clark will have many resources she's never had before — and it also will have about five times the students as at JCAC. She's never had an administrative team before, so she wants to start by "get(ting) to know everybody and understand roles and responsibilities."
She said she would like to carry over to Lewis and Clark a focus on character that's been an initiative at JCAC. She's previously worked for nine years at Simonsen 9th Grade Center with the at-risk program there.
The JCPS Board of Education made the hires Monday in a closed session. All the leadership changes are effective July 1.