February 8, 2019 11:10:29 AM
Two principal hires became official Thursday during a special-call meeting of the Starkville-Oktibbeha Consolidated School District Board of Trustees.
Morgan Abraham of Tupelo will become principal at Sudduth Elementary (the K-1 campus) next school year, replacing Elizabeth Mosley who is retiring after almost two decades at the helm.
Trustees also appointed Cynthia Milons as principal at Overstreet Elementary, the fifth-grade campus. She has been serving this school year as interim principal there.
Both will assume their new roles in July, when the 2019-20 school year begins.
"Over the past two weeks, we have done interviews for two principal-ships in our district," Superintendent Eddie Peasant told trustees. "I'm proud to say we had over 45 people to apply for those positions. From those, I'm very proud to present to you today the principals for those two schools."
According to the district personnel list, Milons will have a starting salary of $75,000 and Abraham will have starting salary $82,000, when they assume their positions July 1.
Mosley has served with SOCSD for the past 25 years, 19 of those as principal at Sudduth Elementary.
"I know that Mrs. Mosley served this district at the elementary and middle school level and has been an important and strong leader in this community," Peasant said. "We appreciate everything that she's done for this district and all the children she's touched over the years."
Abraham, who hails from Tupelo, received her bachelor of science from Mississippi State University, master's of science from Alcorn State University, and specialist of education from Delta State University.
Currently, Abraham serves as assistant principal of Rankin Elementary School in Tupelo. She previously served as K-2 instructional coach and kindergarten teacher.
"My husband is from here so he has always wanted to come back to Starkville," Abraham said. "When I saw the opportunity, I was excited about it. When they called and offered it, I was just thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this community."
Peasant said that Abraham's experience in lower elementary education is what qualified her as a strong candidate to lead Sudduth.
"Mrs. Abraham has served in administrative roles in Tupelo at an A school and has been a leader in teacher growth opportunities," Peasant said. "She's been successful in training teachers to teach early literacy and other strategies for lower elementary age children. Mrs. Abraham knows she has some big shoes to fill. We're excited about her coming in and continuing the positive growth at Sudduth Elementary."
Abraham added she hopes to continue the strong leadership Mosley has created at Sudduth.
"(I want) to continue all the excellent things going on there," Abraham said. "I want to make it an open community to the Starkville area and meet with all the teachers."
Peasant, formerly an assistant superintendent at Tupelo, said he was acquainted with Abraham during his tenure there but he never worked directly with her.
Milons took the interim principal role at Overstreet in July after Timothy Bourne was named director of accountability, accreditation and assessment.
After serving the fall semester, Milons said she wanted a shot at the permanent position, and she is relieved her "interim" tag has been removed.
"It was nerve-wracking and I'm glad it's over," Milons said of the wait. "It has been an awesome experience. When Dr. Peasant asked me to be interim I did not know what to say, but I felt like he had confidence in me and I took it and ran with it. It's been an exciting year."
Milons has worked with public education in Oktibbeha County since 2005, first as an English teacher at East Oktibbeha County High School. Before becoming interim principal at Overstreet, she served eight years as an English teacher at the high school, followed by one year as a lead teacher there (a position that helps teachers curriculum and other classroom resources).
"My goal is to be sure we are striving for all students to be successful. To build those positive relationships," Milons said. "We've been doing a lot of great things at Overstreet and I'm excited to continue."
Peasant said Milons' leadership at Overstreet has created an inviting environment for the fifth grade elementary school.
"She has done a phenomenal job in that time," Peasant told the board. "She was one of the people we interviewed. She rose to the top in those interviews and will be named the principal of Overstreet Elementary."
Peasant said since Milons took the interim role, he has seen the students grow academically and socially under her leadership.
"She is just a lifelong learner," Peasant said. "She's one who has the great energy and most of all she has a natural love of children. I would describe her as an amazing relationship builder. She's one who has been a supporter of faculty and staff at Overstreet. She's done a phenomenal job of creating a really exciting, happy and energetic elementary school."
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