Meadowlane Elementary School has a new principal.
During its called meeting Thursday, the Phenix City Board of Education approved promoting Central Freshman Academy assistant principal Aretha McDonald to principal of Meadowlane. She replaces Felicia Washington, who had resigned. Washington declined to explain why when the Ledger-Enquirer reported her resignation last month.
McDonald has worked in Phenix City Public Schools for 23 years, including one year as an instructional coach at Meadowland (2012-13) before serving the past school year at the freshman academy. She was a paraprofessional and lead teacher at the Phenix City Head Start Center (1992-2000), a kindergarten teacher at Susie E. Allen Elementary School (2000-2003) and Lakewood Elementary School (2003-2010), as well as a reading intervention teacher for kindergarten and first grade at Lakewood (2010-2012).
After graduating from Chattahoochee Valley Community College with an associate's degree (1999), McDonald earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education (2000) and a master's degree in educational leadership (2002) from Troy University-Phenix City.
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Without public discussion, the seven-member board voted 6-0 to approve superintendent Randy Wilkes' recommendation to promote McDonald. Board member Rick Carpenter was absent when the vote was taken.
After the meeting, Wilkes told the Ledger-Enquirer what stands out about McDonald.
"She has an outstanding personality," he said. "I think she'll do well working with the community and working with the parents. She has a tremendous knowledge of the elementary curriculum, having been an instructional coach. That will be her first task, to work on the instruction, so she's well suited for that."
Monday's personnel action fills all leadership positions in the system's schools and main office, Wilkes said.
Central High School assistant principal Rachael Fowler replaces McDonald at the freshman academy, Phenix City Intermediate School assistant principal Jason Sasser replaces Fowler at Central High, and Meadowlane instructional coach Adam Kilcrease is promoted to assistant principal at PCIS, the superintendent said. Wilkes then explained his rationale for the moves.
“Sometimes in a system you do have this type of effect where one person gets a promotion and other people slide in,” he said. “After months of contemplation and consideration and conversation, we got the right people in the right spots. You want every principal to be a strong instructional leader and strong manager, and you want to fit people around a principal’s strengths and weaknesses and consider the students’ needs.”