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franklin county times

RCS moves two from assistant principal to principal positions

By Alison James



Personnel changes at the June 4 Russellville City Schools Board of Education meeting included the promotion of two assistant principals to principals at different campuses.

Deanna Hollimon moves from assistant principal at Russellville Middle to principal at West Elementary. Karen Thorn moves from assistant principal at Russellville High to principal at Russellville Middle.

Hollimon is starting her 30th year with RCS. She began as a third grade teacher and has also taught first grade, served as the First Reading Coach and was WES assistant principal before becoming RMS assistant principal.

“When I was little … I had a fourth grade teacher who encouraged me to read. I read the Little House series; Laura in the books became a schoolteacher, and I wanted to be just like her,” Hollimon said. “It just felt like the natural thing to do.”

Hollimon said when she moved from the classroom to administration, she was concerned about losing that direct relationship with students, but her fears were allayed.

“I quickly realized I still could impact student learning,” Hollimon said. “As the leader of that school, I impact the teachers who in turn impact the learning of the students.” She said she found she could also impact the parents and other stakeholders.

Hollimon said she is excited about new Superintendent Heath Grimes vision and the current goals in RCS. She is also excited to go back to WES, although she will miss the students and teachers at RMS.

“Being in elementary, from an elementary background – I’m back home,” Hollimon said. “I’m very excited. It’s almost like I never left.”

Thorn is also returning to a school she has worked at previously – she was assistant principal at Russellville Middle School for three years before taking the assistant principal position at RHS.

It was a love of children that drew Thorn into education as a career.

“I know its kind of a cliché, but it’s the truth,” Thorn said. “I thought that I could make a difference in the lives of kids and help prepare them for success in their lives.”

Thorn has been in the Russellville City School system for eight years; she also worked in the Franklin County School system for 11 years, teaching at the high school level. She said the move from the classroom into administration was really driven by a desire to expand her reach and ability to impact students and teachers. That ability has been further augmented by her time at RHS.

“I think the three years at the high school have really opened my eyes to what I need to be working on with my faculty and students at the middle school,” Thorn said. “I think that will be very beneficial.”

Thorn said she is excited to get started. “I’ve got a lot to do between now and August, but in some ways I wish it started tomorrow.”

Other personnel changes include the following:

Resignations: Michael McCandless, teacher, RMS; and Michael Smith, teacher, RHS.

Retirement: Ted Ikerd, teacher, RHS, effective June 30.

Employment: Michael Conner, assistant JROTC instructor, RHS; Michael Phillips, English Language Arts, RHS; Olivia Barksdale, speech/language pathology, WES; Cory Flanagan, social science teacher, RHS; Ramona Robinson, curriculum coordinator temporary, central office.

Transfer: Justin Chandler, from RMS math to WES physical education; Shane Reid, from WES physical education to RMS and RHS special education.

Volunteers: Amy Putman, 2015 volleyball.

Substitutes: Cynthia Pounders and Sara Rushing.