There will be 19 new faces on the Franklin County Schools campus when school opens Monday.
It’s a turnover that has concerned each at least two school board members, particularly with the departure in recent years of four Teachers of the Year – Keilan MacWhorter, Nathasa Pennycuff, David Cochrane and Jennifer Edwards.
“Why have we had so many resign?” asked Fonda Davis at last month’s school board meeting.
“What happens to exit interviews?” asked Pam Marshall.
Stressing that she and her team are excited about the district’s new hires, Superintendent Traci Moses said the results of exit interviews are examined, and that turnover is a fact of life in many smaller districts throughout the state.
“It’s something we’ve faced for a long time,” she said. “There’s a lot of turnover in a lot of districts.”
She said the Panhandle Area Education Consortium is providing help with recruitment and directing attention to the issue.
“We are ready to begin a new school year,” said Moses. “We’ve worked all summer preparing for a great school year.”
Last week the district hosted community town halls throughout the district, and welcomed the new crop of teachers.
Among the 19 new staff members who joined the Seahawk family and took part in a welcome back meeting August 1 were two Seahawk alumni, Aaliyah West from Class of 2015, and Adrienne Croom from Class of 2007. West will teach sixth grade math and Croom fourth grade.
Other returning Seahawk family members include Laura King, the K-6 instructional coach; Jennifer Moses, the middle and high school instructional coach; Temolyn Wintons, the middle and high school performing arts teacher; Tawanda Bowen, the K-5 inclusion teacher; Lael Thompson, elementary paraprofessional; and Karen Ward, elementary guidance counselor.
Newcomers include Maria Dively, Spanish teacher; Sonya Dorris, second grade; Tamara Gilbert, receptionist; Christina Gomer, elementary paraprofessional; Cheyenne Hartzog, third grade; Jonathan Hart, intensive math; Charles Holcomb, middle school science; David Hughes, eighth grade math; Julia Mathews, high school math; Cindy Segraves, high school math; Christian Smith, middle school phys ed paraprofessional; and Bobby Wintons, custodian.
Also at the welcome back, Damien Kelly, the state’s director of safe schools, did a presentation on the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, and spoke about the myth "It Won't Happen To Us.”
Moses said the district has targeted its efforts for support and improvement in five key areas, and modified strategies within the school improvement plan.