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DCSS names DHS vice-principal, basketball coach

Coaching hires and personnel decisions marked the bulk of the decisions made during a called Demopolis City Schools System Board of Education meeting on the morning of June 29 at the central office.

Demopolis High School’s head basketball coaching position was filled with the hire of Norvie Womack to lead the program. The board hired Womack to also fill the position of career prep teacher at Demopolis Middle School as well.

The veteran coach comes to Demopolis after serving as the junior varsity head coach for Central-Tuscaloosa as well as assistant varsity basketball coach and wide receiver coach for football.

Womack earned a degree in physical education from the University of West Alabama in 2000 and has previous varsity head coaching experience in the area after serving in the role at Clarke County High School for the 2002-2003 season.

DHS softball also has a new leader as Brandi Dannelly has assumed the role of head coach. Dannelly, hired to teach physical education at DHS, comes to the school after serving as an assistant coach for the University of Central Arkansas from 2008-2011 and again in 2016-2017. The new coach also served as an assistant at Delta State University from 2006-2008.

Starting in 2011, Dannelly served as head coach at Georgian Court University and posted a 65-48 record during her two seasons in the role.

The three other hires by DCSS include:

• Rachel White as English/language arts teacher at DHS.

• Aubrey McElroy as science teacher at DMS.

• Ieasha Morris as a lunchroom worker at WES.

The board also voted to move Virginia Goodlett to serve as a full-time assistant principal at DHS. Goodlett spent the previous academic year as an assistant principal at both Westside and U.S. Jones.

“She can hit the ground running. She has been in the high school and knows the high school,” Demopolis Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff said of the fit that places Goodlett under the direction of DHS Principal Blaine Hathcock. “That’s what Mr. Hathcock needs; someone to come in and hit the ground running. She is going to work with instruction. She’s going to work with the upperclassmen and do more with instruction. She knows the teachers there. She knows the staff. She is just going to compliment Mr. Hathcock and Mr. Pittman well.”

Goodlett’s return to DHS also puts the school back near its full administrative strength after it carried only one assistant principal during the 2016-2017 school year.

“Traditionally (the second assistant principal position at DHS) has been there. We did not have it there last year, but we are putting it back this year. Our numbers are going to be up a little bit,” Kallhoff said. “You know, 750 is that magic number where you want to have that second administrator. I don’t know that we’ll get to 750, but we’re going to be very close to 750 at the high school. We lost a small senior class and I think there’s a 50-student difference in our freshman class that’s coming up.”

With Goodlett back at DHS, the board consented to advertise the assistant principal spot left behind at the elementary schools. Kallhoff said the job will be posted for 14 days and should be filled by the next board meeting.

The hires made makes the superintendent feel positive about the direction of the schools.

“I feel very good. The principals know what their needs are at their schools. We’re still lucky to have quite a few applicants, especially at our elementary level. It’s difficult to fill some of the math and science openings or special ed, but we haven’t had many of those this summer,” Kallhoff said. “I feel good. We’re bringing our staffs together. There are a few openings that are left, but we’ve got another month where I think we can get those gaps filled.”

The board also approved the school system’s Foster Care Plan, which is a state mandate to accommodate students living in foster homes.

“It is due during the summer. They want to know what your plan is and how you’re going to accommodate foster care students within your system. Last year we had seven. This year we anticipate nine. You want to make sure you remove any barriers,” said Kallhoff. “Of course you want to remove barriers for any student, but you certainly want to remove barriers for foster care students who have had challenges they’ve had to go through already in their young lives. You want to make sure their school life is as smooth as it can be.”

DHS and the system will partner with the Marengo County Department of Human Resources to endure the foster care students have their needs addressed.

“It talks about the partnership with DHR, removing any barriers as far as lunch status, and just make sure they’re comfortable and things are going well in school,” Kallhoff said. “Dawn Hewitt is our go-to person. It’s communication. It’s her knowing that she has a direct line to Gina Johnston, our principals, our counselors, me. When they have a student they’re having to deal with for whatever reason, they’re not having to go through red tape and we’re making sure we can identify that child that particular school day and just make things as smooth as possible for that child.”

The next regular board meeting is set for July 17 at 5:15 p.m.

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, July 1, print edition of the Demopolis Times.)