Chapman new BHS principal; coaches named

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, June 5, 2002

Susan Chapman was introduced Tuesday as the new Brookhaven HighSchool principal, and school district officials announced thehiring of three new staff members to fill sports leadershippositions at the high school.

In addition to Chapman, Tucker Peavey has been hired as athleticdirector and head football coach, Billy Holmes as head girlsbasketball coach and Ronald Hines as head boys basketballcoach.

“For the last six weeks, I’ve done intensive searching andinterviewing,” said Superintendent Dr. Sam Bounds. “I was lookingfor people who would be totally dedicated to the community.”

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Chapman is a 30-year education veteran who has served the last19 years in administrative roles in the Brookhaven SchoolDistrict.

“I have worked closely with her. I trust her decision making,”said Bounds as he introduced Chapman to a small crowd of schoolofficials and family members.

During her 26 years in the district, Chapman has worked atAlexander Junior High, BHS and Brookhaven Technical Center, whereshe was director for the last four years.

“I want to thank the board and administration for having thenerve to hire a woman as principal at a secondary school,” saidChapman, who was met with chuckles from other administrators.

Chapman is replacing Roy Balentine, who is still consideringfuture employment possibilities either in or outside the educationfield. She looks forward to getting the next school year kicked offat BHS with new facilities and several new employees.

“Mr. Balentine has done a wonderful job in the last two yearsgetting the academics in line,” she said about the formerprincipal.

Chapman hopes to continue those traditions by raising SAT andACT test scores in order to help students earn scholarships forcollege.

“Student achievement is my number one goal,” she said.

Chapman and her husband, Ken, have two children, Jim and Beth,who both graduated from BHS.

Academics will also be a concern of Peavey as he plans to givestudent athletes a well-rounded life at BHS.

“These guys and girls are students first,” said Peavey. “I’mgoing to expect some things that I would expect out of mykids.”

He and his wife, Leah Ann, have two children, Lauren, 20, andNicholas, 10. His wife, a Natchez native, will teach in the sciencedepartment at BHS.

Peavey, who interviewed with Bounds for more than eight hours,is a Brookhaven native who is giving up the head football coachingjob at Pearl River Community College to return home.

“It’s been about 22 years now since I lived in Brookhaven, butBrookhaven has always been home,” he said. “It’s a great day forus.”

Although the head girls basketball coach will come here fromMercer University in Macon, Ga., he is no stranger to theBrookhaven area.

The McComb native first started his extensive coaching career inLincoln County before moving on to the University of New Orleans,where he was the number one assistant coach, said Bounds.

“I know the rich tradition of what has come out of Brookhaven,”said Holmes. “I’ll set my goals high and I’ll work very hard toachieve them.”

Holmes and his wife, Linda, have three grown children.

The new coach taking helm of the BHS boys basketball team alsohas a familiarity with Brookhaven and its rich basketballtraditions.

“It was a school district that I know a lot about, being mygrandfather was from here,” he said of L.S. Smith, a retired mathteacher.

Hines grew up in Hazlehurst and has coached at Raymond HighSchool the past few years. He longs to make his place in thehistory of athletics at BHS.

“We’ve won a lot of games here in the past, but we haven’t won astate championship, so that’s going to be our number one goal,”said Hines, who will start working next week on his plan to make atrip to the coliseum.

Coming to Brookhaven with Hines are his wife, Katrina, and theirsix-month-old son, Laron.

Bounds was pleased with all of the choices he and assistantsuperintendent James Tillman had made for the upcoming year atBHS.

“I feel like have the best group of administrators that anysuperintendent could surround himself with,” said Bounds.