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School district moves to fill vacancies

Earlier this year, the Brookhaven School District received a newsuperintendent, and several months later the education system forcity schools continues to see changes regarding its leaders.

A carousel usually reserved for a football off-season is spinninginside the district as district administrators have appointed newprincipals and will operate without a deputy superintendent for thetime being.

“My goal is to help build capacity for leadership within our owndistrict,” said Superintendent Dr. Lisa Karmacharya.

The superintendent has been busy lately shifting pieces within theschool district, as plans for a new principal at Mamie Martin andLipsey Middle School are in place and Karmacharya will look toreplace recently retired Deputy Superintendent James Tillman. After42 years inside the school district as a teacher and administrator,Tillman announced his retirement along with former SuperintendentLea Barrett in August.

While the district actively pursued a replacement for Barrett, theywaited until the appointment of a new superintendent before lookingto replace Tillman, so that the new district’s leader could make arecommendation to the board of trustees for the next deputysuperintendent. However, there are no immediate plans for thedistrict to have a new deputy superintendent.

“I will eventually replace (Tillman),” said Karmacharya. “I wouldlike to continue staying in the district when I can.”

In May, Mamie Martin said goodbye to former Principal Danita Hobbs,who served as the school’s leader for a decade and inside theschool district for about 22 years.

Replacing Hobbs at Mamie Martin will be Lipsey Middle SchoolPrincipal Rob McCreary, who has previously worked as an assistantprincipal at Mamie Martin.

Moving McCreary to Mamie Martin will leave a void at Lipsey;however, Brookhaven Elementary School Assistant Principal SonyaFoster will be filling the Lipsey principal role. A replacementcould be named for Foster at BES, pending board approval, at itsnext meeting.

Karmacharya sees the changes for McCreary and Foster as promotions.Foster will make the move to principal and, although McCreary willbe going backwards in grades, he will be leading more students atMamie Martin.

“I think that both of them are really excited about their newpositions,” said Karmacharya. “With those new positions come moreopportunities.”

In addition to finding replacements and shifting administration,district officials will be putting the finishing touches on theschool budget, an area Karmacharya is familiar with due to herprior experiences inside the Hattiesburg School District.

“Working with the budget, for me personally, has not been achallenge,” said Karmacharya.

A public hearing is scheduled for June 21 for those interested inlearning about the district’s budget of about $11.9 million, whichis roughly $150,000 less than last year.

Karmacharya said the $150,000 is about the amount of a few teacherpositions or a couple air-conditioned busses. However, the lack infunding should not have too much of an effect on the dailyactivities of the district.

“I don’t anticipate increasing class size,” said Karmacharya.