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Demopolis school board makes hires

The Demopolis City Schools board of education approved the hiring of five new teachers along with a handful of inner-system transfers this week.

“As far as needs are concerned, we’ll have approximately this many more employees approved at the next meeting,” said Dr. Neil Hyche, interim DCS superintendent.

Included among the new hires are Stephen Campbell and Deborah McAfee, who will each move into classrooms at U.S. Jones Elementary.

Campbell, a University of West Alabama graduate, completed his student teaching at U.S. Jones before filling in at Demopolis Middle School during maternity leaves. He will take over a fifth-grade teaching slot.

McAfee arrives in Demopolis after 17 years of teaching in Montgomery. With experience as a reading coach also under her belt, McAfee will teach third grade.

Katie Poole and Kristy Smith, who are each transferring to USJ from Westside Elementary, will teach third and fourth grade, respectively. That quartet gives U.S. Jones a full roster of educators.

“The focus for us the rest of the summer is to get our test scores in, clear the school, target our area of focus and get ready for the fall,” said U.S. Jones principal Dr. Tony Speegle.

Demopolis High School saw a handful of new faces approved at the Monday meeting. Jametta Clarke will take over a U.S. history slot at DHS after spending a year at Sweet Water High School. Prior to that, she taught in Valley for five years.

“She’ll be a great addition to us,” DHS principal Leon Clark said of Clarke, a teacher with whom he has previously worked.

Glenda Bradley transfers to DHS to become the ACCESS Lab facilitator, leaving her old post at U.S. Jones.

“That is distance learning,” Clark said of the newly-created ACCESS Lab. “Our students will go online to take some courses that are offered elsewhere. It is run through the state department. We’ve got some kids that are on it this summer.”

Matt Geohagan will leave Russellville to step in as a math teacher at DHS, resuming a role he previously filled in 2005 and 2006. He will also serve as an assistant coach in football.

Chris Tangle will join the high school faculty as an assistant principal, leaving his duties with the Marengo County school system behind.

“He did so many different things (with Marengo County schools),” Clark said. “He was the central office administrator, I guess you’d say.”

Tangle’s arrival marks a slight change in objectives for the assistant principal’s slot. Along with Booker Barlow, Tangle will reportedly oversee a number of after-school programs while also assuming much of the responsibility for school discipline. Tangle’s arrival also allows Barlow to spend more time working with at-risk students.

The final move approved by the board is a shifting of duties for Bill Barley, who spent the 2009-10 academic year working as a part-time art teacher and a part-time counselor. Moving forward, he will serve entirely as a counselor.

“(Debbie) Nichols will be the 11th- and 12th-grade counselor, and Mr. Barley will be working with the ninth and 10th grade,” Clark said. “Mrs. Nichols will be doing a lot in finding scholarships for our seniors, while Mr. Barley will work a lot with our at-risk students.”

The board is expected to address a number of openings at its next meeting, including health and ROTC slots at the high school and English, science and physical education positions at Demopolis Middle.