Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 29, 2008
By Rupert Howell
Rachel Pickett was approved for the position of assistant principal of Batesville Elementary School and Superintendent Dr. Keith Shaffer was authorized to use Kelly Services for employment of short-term teacher substitutes at a special meeting of the South Panola School District Board of Trustees held noon Friday.
Pickett was recommended following recent interviews with other applicants by Batesville Elementary principal LaSherry Irby, director of curriculum, instruction and personnel Jeremiah Burks, and Shaffer.
Pickett was one of a handful of administrators promoted within the district for the 2008-09 school year with the superintendent and trustee board members following an unwritten policy of “building our capacity from within,” according to Shaffer.
Several other assistant administrators were given lateral moves to enhance their experience.
“It just makes sense to look inside our own house,” Shaffer said of recent hires.
Teachers at South Panola are offered tuition to acquire up to nine hours of credit per year which would normally cost approximately $2,700.
Some of the tuition costs are paid through Medicaid Reimbursement Funds while the University of Mississippi also offers a “credit” to the school district for hosting teaching labs and student teachers. Those credits are offered to teachers and serve as a ”wonderful retention tool,” according to Shaffer.
The trustee board had discussed using the temporary employment service at an earlier meeting when Shaffer explained that other districts had used them with good results. Shaffer also mentioned the temp service’s responsibility with processing payroll, background checks, paying unemployment and other benefits would make the charge more comparable to the district’s current pay scale and policy of hiring substitutes.
The superintendent said Friday he had discussed the temp service in-depth with representatives of DeSoto county schools who were using the service for the second year.
Shaffer noted that long-term substitutes would continue to be handled through the school district to assure qualified teachers were hired so that accreditation standards would continue to be met.