June 14, 2017 11:08:26 AM
The Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District board of trustees voted on Tuesday evening to switch the principals at Armstrong Middle School and Overstreet School.
Timothy Bourne, who currently serves as AMS' principal, will swap places with Overstreet Principal Julie Kennedy. The move is effective July 1, though the administrators may assume their new positions before then in preparation for the approaching school year.
Board President Keith Coble said the board discussed the move as a personnel matter in executive session during Tuesday's meeting. The board returned to open session for the vote, which was 4-0 with board member Lee Brand absent.
Coble said the district made the switch in preparation for the Partnership School, which is currently under construction on Mississippi State University's campus and expected to open in Jan. 2019. It will include grades 6-7 after it is built and AMS will become an eighth- and ninth-grade campus. Overstreet is the district's fifth-grade campus.
"Our intention is for Ms. Kennedy to be the principal at the Partnership School," Coble said. "This would allow her to get to know her team and build relationships with her team prior to walking into that new building."
Debbie Scire, administrative assistant in the district's superintendent office, said Bourne's salary will remain $87,428. Kennedy will receive a raise from $83,949 to $90,000, with a $4,000 annual supplement while AMS is a three-grade school.
Bourne and Kennedy both began working with the then-Starkville School District as teachers at AMS in 2001, according to a district press release.
They served together as assistant principals at the school before moving to head administrator roles -- Bourne first at Henderson Elementary School when it housed fifth grade and later AMS; and Kennedy at the alternative school before leading fifth grade.
In the release, incoming SOCSD Superintendent Eddie Peasant commended Bourne and Kennedy for their work and experience, and said their strengths make them "uniquely qualified" for their new positions.
"Mrs. Kennedy is a proven school leader with a knowledge and understanding of the middle grades," Peasant said in the release. "She's also demonstrated how school culture and climate can significantly impact a school environment as she successfully moved fifth grade from a completely renovated building (Henderson Elementary) into the oldest building in the district last summer. Overstreet's success at every level is a reflection of Mrs. Kennedy's leadership, and I expect that to translate to AMS and the Partnership School."
Peasant also praised Bourne's experience at the elementary and middle school levels, noting that it would be a benefit in helping prepare students for the Partnership School.
"Mr. Bourne is widely-recognized across the district for his personal commitment to building strong relationships that foster and support our students and teachers," Peasant said. "The Partnership School also gives us the opportunity to examine and reimagine how we are preparing our fifth grade students for middle school, and Mr. Bourne's experience at both levels is a tremendous asset to us."
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