Positions shifting at Natchez public schools

Published 12:21am Sunday, May 26, 2013

NATCHEZ — Some familiar faces in the Natchez-Adams School District will call different schools home this August as part of several administrative changes announced Friday.

Superintendent Frederick Hill said the changes were made to shift around administrators who have shown results at their current schools and whom Hill thinks can help move the district forward.

“I’ve been basically studying the skills of each of these people and what they bring to the table to see who could work with different schools in the district,” Hill said. “It took us about two months to get everything together to announce the changes, but I think they will move the district forward.”

Changes include:

• Cleveland Moore will move from principal at Natchez High School to the curriculum department.

Moore will serve as one of six academic coaches who will help revamp curriculum and be in the classroom helping teachers and students. Moore will serve as a social studies academic coach for students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade.

Moore said leaving the high school will be difficult but also said he is excited and grateful for the opportunity to help mold more young minds.

“I’m a 1991 graduate of Natchez High School, and (I’ve) been there for 10 years, so of course it’s going to be strange not to be there every day, but I’m thankful for this opportunity,” Moore said. “Since Dr. Hill took over the district, our focus has been to do whatever we can to improve our academic standards in the district, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

• Fred Butcher will move from the district’s athletic director to principal at Natchez High School.

A life-long resident of Concordia Parish, Butcher spent 24 years as principal at Ferriday High School before taking over NHS athletics five years ago.

Butcher also serves on the Concordia Parish School Board.

• Jerry Knight will move from assistant principal at Natchez High School to principal at McLaurin Elementary School.

Knight has been at the high school for four years and said the biggest change for him will be the age difference in the students.

“It’s going to be different, but as I told someone the other day, I’m looking forward to hugging some little people for a change,” Knight said. “This is a great opportunity to help create the academic foundation that we know these students need, so when they reach the high school level they will be fully prepared for what’s ahead.”

• Shannon Doughty will move from computer systems technology instructor and Teacher Academy instructor at Fallin Career and Technology Center to assistant principal at Natchez High School.

Doughty has been in the district for 17 years and worked for eight years at the high school.

“I was also a student there, so I’m certainly comfortable in that setting and excited for this wonderful opportunity,” Doughty said. “Of course change is scary for everybody but those of us in education know we change minute-by-minute.

“I know we have a long road ahead of us, but I have poured my soul into this district, and I know our teachers and our students are capable of great things.”

• Alice Morrison will move from principal at McLaurin Elementary School to principal at West Elementary School.

Morrison said she is looking forward to the change, but will miss her time at McLaurin.

“This is my seventh year as administrator there, and I taught there for five years, so I have invested a lot of time there, but this is new beginnings,” Morrison said. “I’m ready for the new move, and we’re just going to move forward and do what’s best for the district.”

• Cindy Idom will move from principal at West Elementary to Frazier Elementary School.

Current Frazier Principal Vera Dunmore will retire at the end of this school year, Hill said.

Idom said the move is one she’s excited about and one that would be somewhat of a homecoming for her.

“I started out, believe it or not, 15 years ago as an assistant principal at Frazier, so now I’m doing a full circle,” Idom said. “It will be difficult to leave West, but I’m always up for a new challenge.”

• Zandra McDonald will move from assistant principal at Morgantown Middle School to principal at the Robert Lewis Magnet School for STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math.

The school is slated to open this fall to 125 sixth-grade students, and an additional grade level will be phased in each year until the school reaches eighth grade.

• Roberta Phipps will remain as principal at Morgantown Middle School, Hill said.

Phipps worked as assistant principal at West Elementary School until being promoted to principal at Morgantown in November.

• Sekufele M. Lewanika will remain as principal of the ninth-grade academy at Natchez High School, which will soon serve as a true “freshman academy.”

The academy will serve as a school within a school for the ninth-grade students.

A ninth-grade academy was created at the high school last year during the reorganization of several schools within the district.