Susan Barnes

After 28 years of teaching in Elba, Susan Barnes will retire at the end of this school year.

The Elba Board of Education met Monday evening, May 20, for the regular monthly meeting of the board, and among the items approved was the retirement of a long-time high school employee. Superintendent Chris Moseley said she had kept quiet about it for the most part, but high school physical education teacher Susan Barnes had submitted her letter for retirement. He said her retirement letter noted June 1st as the effective date. Moseley said Barnes had been a teacher at Elba for the past 28 years, and she had some teaching experience elsewhere prior to coming to Elba. He said she would surely be missed in the halls of Elba High School. Beyond teaching, Barnes also had served as a coach and athletic director during her time with Elba City Schools. Board members voted unanimously to accept Barnes’ letter for retirement. Also during the meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve new 3-year principal contracts for each Wynn Grimes, high school principal, and Debra Strickland, elementary school principal. Board members approved the transfer of Katie Harrison from media specialist at the elementary school to special education teacher at the high school. Moseley said Harrison’s has teaching certifications in English and special education, and therefore, this would be a good transfer for the system. A final high school personnel matter approved by the board was the vote to hire Amber Thomas as an English teacher. Moseley said Thomas is an Enterprise native who married an Elba native, and while they had moved away from the area for a while, they now are returning home. In looking at the elementary school personnel matters being recommended during Monday evening’s meeting, the superintendent said the student numbers for the [upcoming] first grade “have grown so much we are going to have to hire a third class to that grade.” Board members said that was a good problem to have and were excited to hear that news. In making way for that and to cover some already approved resignations from the elementary school, the board approved the hire of three new elementary teachers. The new EES teachers are: Tachae Wright, coming to Elba from Opp Elementary School; Emily Alverson, coming to Elba from Montgomery County Schools [she resides in Brantley, according to EES principal Debra Strickland]; and Emily Nichole Capps, a current resident of Elba. Moseley said it depends upon where principal Strickland feels the best fit for each of the three new teachers will be, but one of these would fill that additional slot being added for first grade next year. An additional new hire for the elementary school approved by the board was Melissa Grantham to be a special education teacher. Grantham is an alumnus of Elba City Schools. She has taught in Montgomery the past five years, and Moseley said she now is coming home. Additional elementary school personnel matters approved included the non-renewal of Vivian Willis as a catastrophic grant probationary teacher, and the renewal each of Linda Tillis and Darlene Burrows as catastrophic grant probationary aides. Moseley said the two catastrophic grant probationary aide positions would be moving to the high school for the upcoming school year. Two Child Nutrition Program workers were approved for hire. They are Tessa Watson and Maria Juarez Martinez. Moseley said interviews are still underway for the elementary school band teacher position. Also during the Monday evening’s meeting, board members approved two out-of-state trips for students. On June 27th, the 21st Century Summer Program will take its students to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Ga.; and from May 31st-June 3rd, the Elba High School cheerleaders will be in Panama City, Fla. participating in cheer camp. The May meeting of the board also marked time for members to elect their president and vice president for the coming year. Outgoing president DeAnn Grantham entertained motions for each position, and Greg Sowell was approved as the new board president with Gladys Yelverton approved as the new board vice president.

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