Demopolis BOE eyes future with administrative changes

Administrative changes headlined an eventful agenda at Monday’s Demopolis City Schools Board of Education meeting, leaving system leadership with renewed optimism about the future.

“The trajectory of our school system just may have been shifted tonight and I’m excited about that,” Demopolis City Schools Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said, making note of the bevy of changes that also included the commissioning of a plan to purchase cutting edge smart board technology in the coming years.

The administrative shuffle includes the redefining of Stacy Luker’s role with the system. Luker, who will still coach football and oversee the sport’s operations while also teaching two classes, officially retired from full-time work and vacated his athletic director post in the process. Luker proceeded to sign a 12-month contract with the system to stay on in his role as football coach and part-time teacher.

“I see this as an opportunity to extend our time with him. He’s at the point in his career where he can retire if he wants. I think this is an unique situation that we’re in to extend his career with us,” Kallhoff said of the three-year contract the system has with Luker. “I really think our kids and this community benefit from his leadership, not just as a football coach. He’s a Christian guy and he’s a good role model. I’m excited. I think it’s pretty unique that we get to do this. For about a third of the money, we get the same quality person.”

Luker’s departure from the athletic director position created a vacancy the board opted to fill internally. Current Westside Elementary School principal Tony Pittman will move to Demopolis High School to serve as an assistant principal and athletic director.

“He is not losing pay. That’s very important. His pay is going to remain the same. He’s just going to be serving kids at the high school instead of Westside,” Kallhoff said. “I’ve got to constantly look a people’s skill sets and see how they can best serve our community. I cannot think of anyone better than Tony Pittman to fill that job as athletic director at the high school. He is very good at working with adolescents. He knows the kids. He’s one of the only employees we’ve had that has worked at every single school in our system. With Mr. Tangle at the high school, I think he can do a lot to complement there as well as do a lot with our athletics.”

The shifting of Pittman to the high school creates a void atop Westside Elementary School and the board approved the posting of that position Monday.

“I hope to fill that vacancy in our regular meeting in May. That’s only fair to that school and our regular teachers that we do that,” Kallhoff said.

Perhaps the most impactful change to come out of Monday’s meeting is the shifting of each of the school system’s counselors.

The transfers will see Valtina Bowden move from Westside Elementary to U.S. Jones Elementary. Leslie May will move from Demopolis High School to Westside Elementary School. Laura Holley shifts from U.S. Jones Elementary School to Demopolis Middle School. Traci Pearson goes from Demopolis Middle School to Demopolis High School. Bill Barley, who is currently at Demopolis High will spend approximately 60 percent of his time there and the remainder of it at Demopolis Middle School.

“We have five counselors and they’re a very strong group. I want to make sure that we’re all used to and familiar with the testing process. We don’t do state testing at Westside. By putting Valtina Bowden at U.S. Jones, it’s going to make her more familiar with testing,” Kallhoff said before noting the advantages to other the system’s other counselors. “They all have skill sets. They’re doing great where they are, but as we’re moving different shifts I thought this would be a great time to move our counselors around as well.”

The other significant transfer to take place Monday was the decision to move computer lab teacher Penny Stanford from U.S. Jones Elementary to Westside Elementary and move one of the WES computer lab aides to USJ.

“U.S. Jones has an outstanding computer lab situation. Amelia Mackey and Penny Stanford do a great job. The only way we can duplicate that at Westside is to move one of those teachers,” Kallhoff said.