Hayden Middle School has new principal

Blount County Board of Education

Mary Grace Hicks was promoted from assistant principal to principal at Hayden Middle School. -Hayden Middle School

Mary Grace Hicks was promoted from assistant principal to principal at Hayden Middle School. -Hayden Middle School

The Blount County Board of Education held its annual meeting Monday afternoon. The first item of business was election of the school board president and vice president. Chris Latta was nominated and elected to serve another term as president while Jackie Sivley was nominated and elected to serve another term as vice president.

“I just want to express my appreciation to this board,” Latta said. “We have an excellent school board, and I enjoy serving alongside each of you. These board members love their schools, but more than that, they love every school in this system. They work together for the betterment of the entire district.”

In Superintendent Rodney Green’s report, he congratulated the Cleveland Panthers for their semifinal win over Mars Hill. “I’ve never seen so many people at that stadium,” he said. “That was the first semifinal game to ever be played on that field. This is only the second team in the history of Blount County schools to make it to the championship game in football. Susan Moore reached the final game in the ‘70s and no one else until now.”

He also updated the board on the Thanksgiving day fire that occurred in the Cleveland Band Booster concession stand at the football field and expressed his appreciation to the responding fire departments and all those who were on hand to help Thursday morning.

In the last meeting, the board accepted the resignation of longtime Hayden Middle School principal Suzette Johnson. She has served the school for 31 years as both a teacher and administrator. Green recommended that the board promote current Hayden Middle School assistant principal Mary Grace Hicks to principal.

“Mrs. Johnson, we wish you the best in the next chapter of your career and your life,” Green said. “You have served the middle school and the community of Hayden for 31 years. Thank you so much for all you have done.

“Mary Grace, your love and compassion for your students, the school, and the Hayden community has been evident since you came as the language arts teacher nine years ago. We know Hayden Middle School is still in great hands.”

Johnson thanked the board for their support throughout her 31 year tenure. “I won’t be a stranger,” she added. “But I know that Hayden Middle School is in great hands.”

Hicks is currently working towards her doctorate and is expected to present her dissertation in a couple of years.

“I appreciate this opportunity,” she said. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to carry on Suzette’s legacy. Hayden is unique in that we have four schools, but we are all working toward the same goal, which is to build not only good students, but good people.”

After reviewing all of the superintendent’s recommendations, the board approved the following items: Agreements/Contracts

• Hayden Elementary employee contracts.

• Susan Moore’s supplement contract with Heath Lauderdale; and contract with Crispin Aguirre to serve as clock keeper for basketball.

• Blount County BOE contract with IMSE/Orton Gillingham Multisensory Education to conduct training for approximately 68 teachers in 2022; and Assistive Technology Agreement with Dr. Linda B. Johnston. General

• approved stipend in the amount of $150 per day to approximately 68 participants to attend the IMSE/Orton-Gillingham Multisensory Education training during the summer of 2022.

• awarded J.B. Pennington football field lighting bid to Littleton Electric Service, Inc. Personnel

• Hayden: transfer Lisa Hargett from elementary teaching position to Elementary Literacy Interventionist; transfer Mary Grace Hicks from assistant principal to principal at Hayden Middle; hire Cara Dickerson as Hayden Elementary teacher; hire Payton Witt as custodian at Hayden Elementary.

• Blountsville: employ Georgia Taylor Flowers and Allison Johnson as elementary teachers.

• employ Patrick Canada as utility school bus driver.

• grant intermittent leave of absence for Maria Murray, Southeastern, from Dec. 1, 2021, to Feb. 28, 2022.