New Collinsville principal announced at this week’s board meeting

Collinsville High School Assistant Principal Bradley Crawford will be the new head principal beginning this summer ahead of the new school year. Crawford has served at CHS since 2006, when he began as a social studies teacher. 

The DeKalb County Board of Education approved Collinsville High School’s Assistant Principal Bradley Crawford to replace Donny Jones as principal, who is retiring on August 1, during Thursday’s board meeting.

DeKalb County Board member Mark Richards expressed his congratulations towards Crawford.

“He has worked very hard down there and he deserves it,” he said.

Echoing his sentiments, DeKalb County Board of Education Chairman Randy Peppers said Crawford is going to do a great job.

“He’s already been doing a great job, and we appreciate the work [Donny] Jones put in over the years. I know Mr. Jones is going to enjoy his retirement, and Mr. Crawford is ready to step in and take his place,” Peppers said.

In a statement to The Times-Journal, Crawford said he is “extremely excited” to have the opportunity to serve as the principal of Collinsville High School.

“The school and community have become a second home to me since I first arrived as a social studies teacher in 2006,” he said.

Crawford said Collinsville has a “spirit about the school and community” that he would argue is unmatched.

“You can see this spirit during school events like PTO meetings, community clean-up days, pep rallies, athletic events and the way the community rallies to make sure the school has what it needs,” he said.

Crawford said he has also witnessed the spirit during times of heartache and tragedy when the community has stepped forward to provide comfort and support to those in need.

“This commitment and dedication make Collinsville a special place,” he said.

During the meeting, the board discussed the 2020 Policy Committee recommendations that were tabled in the previous session.

DeKalb County Superintendent Jason Barnett said with the recommendations laid on the table at their last meeting, the board has had time to consider and review the items.

Regarding the weighted grade policy recommendations, Richards asked if that would go into effect immediately or if it could be set for a year that doesn’t affect next year’s senior graduates.

“The policy committee had discussed this, and their recommendation was to get [started] effective immediately. There were many discussions on why it would be beneficial for students, but there were also some concerns about doing it so quickly,” Barnett said.

The board approved to Amended section 4.9.2 guidelines regarding weighted grades to begin in the 2022-2023 school year instead of immediately.

The board also discussed uniform policy concerns from employees.

Richards said he received a couple of concerns about the uniforms from a few nurses who had already spent “hundreds of dollars” on uniforms for the upcoming school years and would not get any wear out of them if the recommendations were passed.

“My question was could they delay for one year, so these people could get some wear out of these uniforms?” he said.

Barnett said there had been debate regarding keeping the nurses in or taking them out of the policy. Some nurses had reached out and requested to be removed from the policy.

“The vote of the committee was to include the break store workers who asked to be included and the nurses into that policy,” he said.

The board spoke of having unity across the campuses and coordination for professionalism among the various staff.

Vice-Chairman Robert Elliott said he was on the policy committee, and he would think that if they order uniforms for the nurses, they would probably have a large ensemble to pick from.

“We are not talking about putting them in a prison uniform. We are budgeting the money for this, and we are making every effort to help and that is my opinion,” he said.

Peppers said one of the concerns about excluding the nurses from the policy is that there may be others in the future who want to be taken out.

“I do want to say, I haven’t heard anything negative from any other group, and I’ve only heard directly from one nurse,” said Barnett.

He said, in fact, many people have been positive about the uniforms because they are good quality and in a good program.

There will be no expenditures on clothing for the employees, the company would come once a week to pick up the uniforms to wash, dry and check them for any stains or wear.

“Most of our folks have been really appreciative of it because it takes the purchasing part out, the washing and drying,” Barnett said.

He said many of the uniforms are going to be Carhartt material for the maintenance and custodians, and some would even have safety features such as flame deterrent material.

After a substantial discussion between the board member and Barnett, the 2020 Policy Committee recommendations all passed. It included item 10A referring to the nurse uniforms with a majority of three to two votes from the board.

Board members Richards and Darwin voted no to Item 10A.

The regularly scheduled meeting continues to be held via the digital platform Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board also:

• approved the early graduation of Katelyn Rando of Sylvania High School

• The board heard an update from Examiner of Public Accounts Ashleigh Bubbett who presented the board with an audit report.

• approved the retirements and resignations of Pam Gann - assistant superintendent and special education coordinator - system -

retirement - 7/1/20, Jodi Benefield - physical education teacher - Fyffe High School - retirement - 6/1/20, Blake Wigley - agri-business teacher and bus driver - Crossville High School - resignation - 7/31/20, Taylor Gilbert - girls varsity soccer coaching duties only - Sylvania High School - resignation - 5/22/20 and Jeremy Smith - girls basketball coaching duties only - Geraldine High School - resignation - 5/28/20

• approved the following transfers (all transfers will have an effective date of 8/1/20 unless otherwise specified): Bradley Crawford - assistant principal to principal (12 month) at Collinsville High School (probationary contract 7/1/20-6/30/22) (2020-022), Kendra Varner - Pre-K auxiliary at Ruhama Jr. High School to Pre-K teacher at Crossville Middle School (2020-030), Sharon Smalley - CNP worker to assistant CNP manager at Plainview High School (2020-085), Macy Smith Cole - elementary teacher at Crossville Middle School to Crossville Elementary School (2020-074), Katie Willingham - elementary teacher at Ruhama Jr. High School to Plainview High School (2020-052) and Brittany Sears - elementary teacher at Crossville Elementary School to Fyffe High School (2020-034)

• approved the certified placements (all placements will have an effective date of 8/1/20 unless otherwise specified): Valerie Arnold - business tech teacher - Collinsville High School (2020-025), Amelia Parker McMahan - elementary teacher - Crossville Elementary School (2020-027), Amber Brown - elementary teacher - Crossville Elementary School (2020-027), Stephanie Gipson - elementary teacher - Crossville Middle School (2020-075), Cori Amos - secondary English language arts teacher - Crossville High School (2020-084), Julie Caminiti - elementary teacher - Plainview High School (2020-052), Laney Gaddis - secondary English language arts - Plainview High School (2020-052), Cassidy Romans - itinerant special education Teacher - Ider Special Services Center (2020-048), Heather Conkle - Pre-K teacher - Ruhama Jr. High School (2020-056), Kate Freeman - itinerant speech language pathologist - system (2020-062), Tonia Wilburn - itinerant special education teacher - Plainview High School (2020-094) and Jeremy Smith - head boys basketball coaching duties only - Geraldine High School (2020-091)

• approved the support placements of Robert Bryant - assistant custodian seven-hour/nine-month - Crossville Middle School (2020-031), Francisca Espinosa Ovalle - assistant custodian seven-hour/nine-month - Crossville Middle School (2020-031), Lee Anne Hulgan - assistant secretary - Valley Head High School (2020-087), Aaron Wilbourn - bus mechanic - bus garage (2020-063), Tammy Richey - itinerant special education paraprofessional - Geraldine High School (2020-066), Tera Tatum - CNP worker - Collinsville High School (2020-073) and Amanda McKee - CNP worker - Fyffe High School (2020-079)

• approved summer worker Garrett Cantrell - Collinsville High School

• approved the following contracts: Wendy Ann Bowman - sign language interpreting services - IDEA B, Penny Colvin -behavior consultation - IDEA B, Madge Gower - SLP consultant - IDEA B, Twin Acres Physical Therapy - IDEA B, Montana Gattis - student computer technician - local, Matthew McCollum - student computer technician - local, Alex Thomas - student computer technician - local and Margaret Brown - clerical work - local

• approved Superintendent’s recommendations, comments and reports: request permission to place pending board approval.

Barnett spoke of last week’s graduation saying they went exceptionally well.

“We have one more graduation at Crossville High School this upcoming Saturday and I am looking forward to it,” he said.

Board members echoed Barnett’s sentiments regarding graduations and commended Barnett on his recent induction into the Jacksonville State University 2020 School of Education Hall of Fame.

The next meeting will be held on June 16, 2020 with a regular meeting at 12 p.m. (Meeting will be conducted through a digital platform).

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