Brown named new Westside principal

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 4, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; After more than 20 years as an educator and administrator in the Demopolis City School District, Connie Brown is coming full circle as the next principal of Westside Elementary School.

The board of education last night chose Brown after a series of four interviews. Board chairman Gary Holman said her educational experience and knowledge of the district will serve her and the school system well.

Holman highlighted the importance of Westside Elementary School as being the first school with which most parents and students will associate. He said because of this, Brown&8217;s background with the school will be key.

Email newsletter signup

Brown said she was excited about returning to the school where she got her start.

Coming home again

In 1979, Brown began her career as a teacher&8217;s aide at Westside. While there, she was encouraged to return to college and get her teaching certification.

But back to school Brown went, and she never stopped. After graduating the University of West Alabama in 1984, she returned to Westside as a kindergarten teacher. She spent seven years in the classroom, and in 1991 Brown completed her master level certification to become a school counselor. She served Westside in that capacity from 1992 until 1997, when she moved to the middle school as a counselor.

In 2005, Brown completed her master level certification in school administration and became the assistant principal at the middle school.

Four make cut for interviews.

Eleven educators submitted their applications for the position, including five local educators. Of the five, only Brown was selected to interview.

Dr. Neil Hyche, the former Tuscaloosa County superintendent who led the search process, said the other four local candidates were cut from the interview process because they did not have the administrative experience required for the position.

Dr. Wesley Hill, superintendent of Demopolis City Schools, said all 11 candidates were tremendous prospects and that the final four were all well-qualified.

In addition to Brown, the candidates who interviewed were:

– Dr. June Overton, director of curriculum, Pickens County Schools

– Mrs. Stephanie Richey, principal, West Elementary School in Greensboro

– Mrs. Laura Jockisch, system reading coordinator, Tuscaloosa City Schools

Brown best of talented pool

While acknowledging the benefits of being able to promote from within the district, Hill said he did not want to slight Brown&8217;s worthiness for the position.

Hill said Brown will spend a week at a K-2 school in Tuscaloosa County for professional development and then will transition into her new role as principal in the coming months. A final timeline has not been set.

The selection process to replace her as assistant principal is expected to begin within the week.