Winston BOE approves non-renewals and retirements

The Winston County Board of Education takes action on several personnel changes at their recent meeting. From left, Board Members Randy Lee, Lamar Frith, Chief School Financial Officer Morgan Blankenship, Board President Joey Boteler, Superintendent Greg Pendley, Board Members Allin Bailey and Mark Finley.

DOUBLE SPRINGS       -  A drop in enrollment at both Winston County High School and Double Springs Middle School means the assistant principal position at each school for the 2023-2024 school year has been eliminated.
The Winston County Board of Education voted to make these changes along with other personnel items on a lengthy agenda at their regular meeting Thursday, April 10.
Phillip Key, who has worked a half day as assistant principal at WCHS and a half day as assistant principal at DSMS, will not be working in that role next year due to a decline in enrollment.  He was approved to remain the boys head basketball coach at WCHS for the new school year.
Winston County Schools Superintendent Greg Pendley noted that enrollment has to be over 250 for that particular school for a school to have an assistant principal
“The reality is the overall population of Winston County has decreased.  People aren’t staying here,” said Pendley. “There’s not as much industry here as in other places.
“Some of our schools have declined in enrollment, which means our state funding doesn’t match,” Pendley explained.  “Unfortunately, we have to adjust so that, budgetarily, we’re in a spot we need to be.”
WCHS Principal Jeff Cole noted the state looks at an enrollment of a particular school and makes decisions on funding based on average daily enrollment for the first 20 days of school after Labor Day.  At that time, the school’s enrollment fell just below 250 to around 248, but enrollment since then has continued to drop, school officials said.
“We’ve been two or three (students) over, two or three students short, the last four years,” Cole pointed out.
At WCHS, enrollment averages about 50 to 60 students per grade, according to Cole.  WCHS houses grades 9-12.
“In order for us to be where we get to 250, we really have to be at a 62 or 63 number,” Cole pointed out. “Right now, we are not.  Our numbers are down. I’ve had more to move away than I have had to move in since that count was completed in October.
“Unfortunately, we’ll have a kid or two who will just drop out, because they turn 17 and they can. That’s the kind of thing we deal with,” Cole pointed out.
The trend of decreasing enrollment doesn’t just affect Winston County schools, but schools statewide, according to Cole.
“There is not one particular thing that attributes to it,” he said. “It’s just cycling for rural schools.”
Cole stressed that the lack of an assistant principal will mean an additional workload for himself.  Traditionally, the assistant principal has done work with the Alabama High School Athletic Association in making sure all school requirements are met, Cole explained.
“That is a painstaking, lengthy process,” he noted. “When you’re making sure everybody is eligible, when you’re making sure that everybody has completed all their forms, completed all their classes.
Cole noted that assistant principals also help him with discipline issues at the school.
Cole admitted that the lack of an assistant principal would make things more difficult.
“I wish there was a way we had that person all the time,” said Cole, “and you knew you could count on them to be there every time  because you’re enrollment was good.”
Cole, however, assured the school would do whatever was needed in order to fill the gap.
“I may have a couple of teachers taking care of a few things supervision-wise in the mornings or in the afternoons and in the hallways,” he said.


The board voted to non-renew Sonia Hargrove at Meek Elementary School and Justin Wiley at Double Springs Elementary School and DSMS. These teachers do not have three consecutive years of service or tenure, school officials said.
However, other factors are considered behind non-renewal of personnel, according to Pendley.
“We don’t have a budget, per se, from the state, so, obviously, if something changed or whatever, then yes, (recalling) would be a possibility,” Pendley continued. “But we can’t wait. We have to be proactive and make sure our money meets within reason of what they send us.  It’s a situation where there has to be some adjustments so that our budget is in line.”
In the case of non-renewals, Pendley’s recommendations are based on information he receives from administrators, he said.


Retirements were also approved by the board, including Shawna Hampton, as child nutrition program manager at the Addison lunchroom effective July 1, and Crystal Parrish, as CNP manager for the Double Springs Elementary lunchroom effective Aug. 1.
“I am proud for them,” Pendley said. “I appreciate the services they have done for us at Winston County and at their local schools particularly.  I hope they have a wonderful retirement.”
Hired as DSES CNP Manager was Crystal Colburn, effective Aug. 1.  Chasity Bryant was hired as a DSES lunchroom worker effective May 1 and Laura Lewis as DSES secretary, effective April 3.
The board non-renewed systemwide coaching duties, then approved a list of coaches for all schools in the county system for the 2023-2024 school year, as well as all athletic events for the summer, as well as new school year.
The board also approved CTE book adoption for the new school year.
“CTE is career tech at the Winston Career Academy,” Pendley explained. Although this is not on the state list, the local school system can provide what is needed, he added.
Also approved was the Northwest Alabama Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Action Plan, effective through Jan. 18, 2026, for Winston, Marion, Walker, Lawrence, Lamar, Franklin and Colbert counties.
“If something, God forbid, were to happen, we are going to help people in our communities,” Pendley explained. “This is just a formality to that.”
Policy 7.4.9. or the Graduates with Distinction Policy was approved, to which Pendley explained  this policy opens up the graduates of distinction to give it a broader scope.


See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.
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