Back to class

Published 4:13 pm Saturday, August 18, 2012

Students in Atmore will head back to class Monday when Escambia County Schools officially open their doors for the 2012-13 school year, and with the new start will come some familiar faces, as well as some new ones in classrooms around town.

Several new principals will begin their first year in the Atmore area. At A.C. Moore Elementary, John Brantley will replace long-time principal David Nolan.

Brantley, an Atmore resident who spent the last two years as assistant principal at W.S. Neal High School, said he is energized and ready to attempt to fill Nolan’s big shoes.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“I’m very excited,” Brantley said. “It’s going to take a while to find the needs and strengths of the school, but I’m excited to be here and look forward to working with the parents, faculty, staff and the students.”

Brantley said A.C. Moore will also have some fresh faces in the classroom as the school welcomes new teachers Maegan Stewart, Debbie Hester and Tanya Ragan. Stewart will teach fourth grade. Hester will serve as the new reading coach and Ragan will be the school’s new counselor.

Escambia County Middle Preparatory School will also have a new leader this year, as former assistant principal Anthony Morris moves up to take the helm as principal. Morris said he too is excited about the new opportunity and is looking forward to the new school year, with emphasis on preparing his students for their high school years.

“We’re really focusing on doing the things that will get them ready for high school,” Morris said. “We’re introducing curriculums that are bringing things in earlier and earlier. It’s important the kids are prepared.”

ECMPS will also have some new faces this year, including Melissa Daniel, who will be teaching special education.

“I think it’s a pretty impressive school,” Daniel said. She added that she already feels right at home because she knows many of the teachers as a parent and they have all been personable now that she will be working at the school. Her daughter Brooke Doolittle will be attending the school this year as a sixth grade student.

At Escambia County High School, third-year principal Zickeyous Byrd will again hold the top job, but Northview High School will see a change in administration as first-year assistant principal Gerry Pippins will replace Deborah Ray. Teachers Suzanne Dent and Martin Lister will also join the NHS staff this year.

At Huxford Elementary, Greg Shehan will begin his first full year as principal after taking over for Donna Silcox midway through the 2011-12 school year. Shehan came to HES after serving as principal at J.U. Blacksher in Uriah. Also joining the HES team will be new physical education coach Alice White and librarian Kelly Garrett.

At Escambia Academy teachers Michelle Howell, Lee Ann Donald, Justin Marshall, Paul Kirchharr, Erica Hammonds, Laura Tucker and Holly Wyatt will all be new to the county’s only private school.

At Rachel Patterson Elementary, Cindy Jackson will serve as interim principal until a permanent replacement can be found for former principal Susan McKenzie, who was named principal at W.S. Neal Elementary School earlier this summer.