Wheeler school will begin the new year without a familiar face in the front office.
Prentiss County School Board members accepted the resignation Monday of Todd Swinney, effective Dec. 31.
Swinney has served as assistant principal at Wheeler since Jan. 1, 2021 after previously serving for many years as the school’s principal. He requested the move to assistant principal last December to allow now principal Denny Shaw to take the reins ahead of his planned retirement.
The board also approved the appointment Monday of Nathan Garner and Jeri Potts as assistant principals at the school, filling the position vacated with Swinney’s retirement. Shaw said they had developed a plan to allow Garner and Potts to split the assistant principal duties and they will also split the pay supplement for serving in the role.
Superintendent Jeff Palmer told the board Monday the district is one of five in the region approved for Apple Corporation’s application and coding initiative. The program will provide training for teachers to allow them to teach coding and app development to students. Palmer said the program will give students real-world, hands-on experience with a potentially lucrative and fulfilling career.
“It could be life changing for some of our kids,” said the superintendent.
Teacher training will begin in March before the program is rolled out to the classroom in the future.
The board also gave approval to another technology initiative with the establishment of an e-sports program for high school students in the district. District Technology Director Andrea Allen said the program will allow students to compete in MHSAA-sanctioned computer game competitions against students from other schools.
Allen said approval by the board will allow her to begin recruiting students for the program and she plans to share more detailed information in a presentation at the January board meeting. She noted the program will offer another opportunity for students to get involved in extracurricular activities who may not be interested in traditional sports programs.
In other business, the board:
Approved hiring Carla King as a fifth and sixth grade math instructor at Marietta and Patricia Willis as a special education instructor at Thrasher, beginning with the start of the new semester in January.
Accepted the resignations of Wanda Gann (Marietta cafeteria), Dana Rogers and David Inman (Hills Chapel bus drivers), Mikel Sims (Jumpertown bus driver), Valerie Perrigo (Thrasher handicapped bus driver), Tonya Billups (central office special services and human resource secretary), Krista Blair Weaver (instructional technology coach), Jessica Williams (Thrasher cafeteria), Carla King (teacher assistant at Marietta), Michael J Raines (special education, Thrasher), Regina Kuykendall (math instructor, Marietta) and Patricia Willis (assistant teacher, Thrasher).
Approved the following as substitute teachers: Cara Kelley, Carly Carpenter, Sherry Farrar, Cora Owens.
Approved the following as bus drivers: Rod Williams (Jumpertown), Kaisey Roberts and David Wyers (Hills Chapel), Karen McCalmon (Thrasher handicapped bus), Valerie Perrigo (Thrasher substitute driver).
Approved the following as full-time cafeteria workers: Amanda Woodruff (Thrasher), Amy Pharr (New Site), Christine Grove (Marietta).
Approved the following as substitute cafeteria workers at Marietta: Stephanie Smith, Kristin Clemmons