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Three JC schools get new principals

Three JC schools get new principals

April 17th, 2014 in News

Two retirements in the Jefferson City Public Schools recently led to a flurry of leadership changes for Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Simonsen 9th Grade Center and Jefferson City High School this week.

On Wednesday, Superintendent Brian Mitchell announced several new principals are now in place for the 2014-15 school year.

Three of the new hires - Ben Meldrum, Mike Shipp and David Bray - are familiar faces in the district; Jason Eggers, from Maryville, is a newcomer to Jefferson City.

Thomas Jefferson Middle School Principal Roberta Hubbs and Nichols Career Center Assistant Director Pat Wright-Tatum are retiring at the end of this school year, after 24 and 14 years respectively with the district. The women were honored at Monday's Board of Education meeting.

Hubbs - a former home economics teacher whose career spanned 35 years - told board members she thought she wanted to resign when she no longer felt like coming to her job every day.

"But I realized I'm never going to feel that way," she said.

Wright-Tatum has been in education for 37 years, most recently overseeing Nichols Career Center's adult education programming and financial aid. However, starting in the fall of 2013, Linn State Technical College started to take over the career center's adult programs.

With a nod to former Superintendent Bert Kimble, Wright-Tatum drew a chuckle from the crowd when she said: "I have to thank Dr. Kimball for hiring me and Dr. Mitchell for keeping me."

Because Wright-Tatum's position no longer needs to be filled, it presented Superintendent Brian Mitchell an opportunity to make some shifts in the district's leadership team.

Repositioning Myron Graber, the current assistant superintendent of secondary education, into a new position as academies coordinator was one of the key changes.

Starting this fall, all students in ninth grade are being assigned to one of seven different career academies.

For Graber, the change in title will "definitely allow me to focus on the needs and the implementation," he said.

Tammy Ridgeway, the associate principal at Simonsen 9th Grade Center, was promoted to Graber's position as assistant superintendent. Mitchell said he chose her for several reasons, noting she has "great communication and collaborative skills" and "a comprehensive understanding of the district's secondary programs."

"We were fortunate to recruit her several years ago," he said.

Meldrum is moving from the position of assistant principal at Simonsen to that of associate principal - the lead administrator on that campus.

Filling Meldrum's position at Simonsen is Mike Shipp. Shipp taught in the district from 2006-12 before taking an assistant principal position in California, Mo. Mitchell said he was pleased to offer the job to Shipp because not only is he familiar with the Jefferson City Public Schools, he has gained a little administrative experience as well.

Mitchell said it makes sense for the district to "grow its own principals" by cultivating the leadership skills of assistant principals.

"We benefit from having more consistency and a stronger understanding, at the outset," he said.

Eggers has been hired to serve as the assistant principal at Jefferson City High School. He has 22 years of experience in education, and comes to Jefferson City from the Maryville school system, where he served as high school principal.

At Thomas Jefferson Middle School, Bray, a former teacher, has been selected as head principal to replace Hubbs. He is currently an assistant principal at the middle school.