School board juggles open job positions

By Jeff Linville -

DOBSON — Four schools in the Surry County district will have new leaders this fall after this week’s announcements.

Cedar Ridge Elementary, Mountain Park Elementary, White Plains Elementary and Meadowview Middle are losing their principals, and some assistant principals also are changing zip codes.

The Surry County Board of Education announced that Cathy Hull, principal of Cedar Ridge, is retiring effective July 1. Hull is a 23-year veteran educator in the Surry County Schools system. Over her career, she has worked as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.

“I have enjoyed serving in the Surry County Schools system,” said Hull. “Through the years, I have worked with many great people and have made lasting friendships. I appreciate the support I have been given and am grateful for the opportunity to have made a difference.”

That created an opening, which can have a domino effect.

Donna Bledsoe will transfer as principal from Mountain Park to Cedar Ridge. Bledsoe is a veteran educator with the school system. She also has served as a classroom teacher, instructional specialist and assistant principal.

That leaves an opening at Mountain Park. Another opening was created by the promotion of a principal to the central office.

DeAnne Danley, principal at White Plains, assumes her new role as the director of elementary education and K-8 literacy on Tuesday. She takes the place of Jan Varney, who came out of retirement mid-yer to handle the job on an interim basis.

Nicole Hazelwood, currently the assistant principal at White Plains, will take over the lead spot for Danley. Hazelwood previously was a classroom teacher at Dobson Elementary and an assistant principal at North Surry.

Another school is losing its principal to an educational sabbatical.

Denny Barr, principal at Meadowview Magnet, submitted a request to the school board for a one-year leave of absence to pursue a doctoral degree. The Board of Education approved that request this week.

The school board will immediately begin the process of accepting and screening applications for the principal positions at Meadowview and Mountain Park. Depending on the outcome of those searches, more shuffling could occur in the 19 schools in the district.

At the assistant principal level, the school system is swapping personnel with Mount Airy City Schools.

Two weeks ago, the city school board announced the hiring of Sherry Cox as principal for Jones Intermediate. Cox was an assistant principal at Central Middle.

Conversely, moving from the city to the county is Jamie Martin, who has been the accountability and student information coordinator for city schools.

Martin will be the assistant principal at Flat Rock Elementary, replacing LuAnn Llewellyn who becomes the new director of federal programs. Llewellyn takes the spot of Brenda Whitaker, who is retiring effective June 30.

With Cox leaving Central Middle, teacher Amanda Burton will move to the administration side. She is an 11-year veteran, teaching social studies and language arts at Elkin Middle School.

In the final announcement (for now), Laura Whitaker will transfer from Cedar Ridge as assistant principal to Pilot Mountain Elementary as assistant principal. She replaces Wendy Hawk who resigned to return to her home state of Arizona.

By Jeff Linville

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.

Reach Jeff at 415-4692.

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