BOE picks No. 2

Published 5:33 pm Saturday, June 23, 2012

When John Knott strolls the halls at W.S. Neal Elementary School, he greets each student by name.

That personal interaction is what he will miss most as principal of the school. Knott was promoted to assistant superintendent Thursday by the Escambia County School Board.

“I really am excited,” he said. “It’s going to be a big change. But I am going to have to go over there and see the students. I really have a good connection with them. You can be having a bad day and you walk into the school and it doesn’t take but a second to light up and change your attitude.”

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Knott replaces Randall Little, who was hired as superintendent this spring. Assistant Superintendent Mary Bess Powell, who is retiring this summer, will not be replaced at this time, Little said.

Powell said she is looking forward to retirement but will also be doing some work for the state Board of Education, in addition to spending time with family and traveling with her husband, former Superintendent Buck Powell.

Little said he is looking forward to working with Knott.

Knott said the decision to move to the central office was a difficult one because of his love for W.S. Neal, but he said he could not turn it down.

“I just felt like it was the right time,” he said. “I was definitely torn about making the decision. I have a lot invested in our school, and I’m proud of the things we’ve been able to accomplish.”

A new principal has not yet been chosen, but Susan Coleman will be the new assistant principal at W.S. Neal Elementary.

Knott said he looks forward to his new role.

“At this position, the impact we have here with all of our students is huge,” he said. “I look forward to seeing us continue to move forward and see where we can go. We have a great school system.”

In other personnel news, former W.S. Neal football standout and Auburn player Jared Cooper was hired as a sixth-grade teacher at W.S. Neal Middle School.
Employments also included:

• Earlando Courtney, math teacher at Escambia County High School

• Gavin King, history teacher at ECHS

• Lora Matheny, teacher, Rachel Patterson Elementary

• Ralind Davis, teacher, Rachel Patterson

• Susan Coleman, assistant principal, W.S. Neal Elementary

• Kristin Hope Kemp, class-size reduction teacher, W.S. Neal Elementary

• Nathan Kemp, teacher, Flomaton High School

• Brett Chancery, teacher, Flomaton High

• Hayley Canterbury, band director, ECHS

• Natalie Pitts, teacher, W.S. Neal Middle

• Roderick Hamilton, teacher, Escambia County Middle

• Cathy Boyd, registered nurse, Atmore area schools

Employment changes include:

• Stephanie McGhee, from teacher at ECHS to Title I reading coach at ECHS

Temporary employment:

• Howard Ballard, P.E. teacher at ECHS, replacing Anthony Hayes while he is on military leave


• Ashley Peak, math teacher, ECHS

• Jason Blaney, math teacher, W.S. Neal High

• Daniel Hodge, math teacher, W.S. Neal High

• Franklin Boyd, teacher, ECMS