At least two elementary schools in Haywood County will get a new principal over the summer: Jonathan Valley and Bethel Elementary.
Jonathan Valley Principal Heather Hollingsworth will become the new principal of Bethel Elementary. Who will take her place at Jonathan Valley has not yet been determined.
Meanwhile, Bethel Elementary previous principal Kim Shipman is moving up to countywide elementary supervisor.
“She is an excellent educational leader and has good experience leading a school to academic success,” Superintendent Bill Nolte said during his introduction of Shipman at a school board meeting this week.
The job became open following the retirement of Ron Moss, who has been instrumental in the school system’s academic success over the past decade, and its ascension to one of the top school districts in the state.
Shipman, like Moss, came up through the ranks — starting as a classroom teacher — which will serve her well in a role that requires inspiring and training teachers at the county’s eight elementary schools.
“Everything that you have done in the past helps you to your next step,” Shipman said. “As I walk through this door and take my next step, I am humbled and honored that you have the faith in me to give me this opportunity. I am committed to work hard and support our outstanding teachers and ultimately impact our priority the students of Haywood County.”
Shipman will miss Bethel, of course, where she has spent the past 12 years as principal and assistant principal.
“I believe during my time there they have grown me and made me a better person and a better educator,” Shipman said.
To fill Shipman’s place at Bethel, Nolte reached out to Jonathan Valley Principal Heather Hollingsworth and asked her to take the job. Bethel is a larger school than Jonathan Valley, and Nolte needed a principal with Hollingsworth’s skill and experience.
“I am leaving a big part of my heart at Jonathan Valley. It is a great place to be,”said Hollingsworth, who was principal at Jonathan Valley for nine years. “I got to be the principal of students who are the kids of the kids I taught in high school at Tuscola. That has been amazing beyond anything you can imagine.”
Hollingsworth said she is excited about going to Bethel, however, which is closer to home for her. And being on that side of the county, she may once again have kids of the kids she had during her years as an assistant principal at Pigsah.
“I am so excited about going to Bethel,” she said. “I embrace this opportunity and this open door.”
While the single retirement of a top administrator has led to a principal shake-up in at least two schools so far, the shuffle will be nothing like last summer.
More than one-third of the schools in Haywood County got new principals last summer, including both high schools and two of the county’s three middle schools.
The ripple effect all started with the retirement of the long-time superintendent and departure of Tuscola’s principal. The two vacancies were filled from within, leaving more vacancies in their wake, and so on down the line — with nearly 20 principal, assistant principal and top administration jobs changing hands over the summer.