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Enrollments up, faculties filled

There’s a lot of newness in the Franklin County School District, with lots of new faces in the teaching ranks and two new principals at the two public schools.

Principal Danielle Rosson greeted the new faculty at the Franklin County Schools, while Principal Sherry Ware is now the head of the Apalachicola Bay Charter School, having been selected July 21 by the board of directors as the principal and CEO, replacing Chimene Johnson.

Ware has been working alongside interim principal Elizabeth Kirvin to ready for the new year, just as Rosson has been busy with her team.

Rosson said the the school’s enrollment of about 810 students is slightly up from last year, while the ABC Schools’ 376 students, in grades pre-kindergarten through eighth grade is once again nearly filled to capacity.

Rosson said FCS has had to replace 16 teachers who left from last year, either through retirement or moving away, with nearly half of them announcing their departure just last month, including Dean of Students Chuck Syverson.

“We’re focusing on filling teachers’ positions first,” she said. 

Among the changes have been the departure of Ashley Cleveland as head of the culinary arts program, replaced by Sara Ward.

Kindergarten teacher Patricia Dempsey has retired and she is replaced by Sarah Brown Messer, who was a first grade teacher. Cindy Seagraves also has retired, and Mallorie Callaway has left as the fourth grade teacher.

Fifth grade teacher Kimberly Jeveden left because of a family health matter, and now the school will be able to properly fill two fifth grade teacher slots instead of three.

Thomasina Brock retired at third grade, and she has been replaced by Madison Minacci.

Anthony Cowart was in charge of the NJROTC program and he has been replaced by Kevin Cox.

Pamela Hanks retired from her first grade teaching role. Gracie Waddell is now at third grade, replacing Cheyenne Hartzog.

The new second grade teacher is Tracy Craney.

Jacob Montalbano, who had taught fifth grade science, has been replaced by Jamie Williams, an existing teacher. His wife, Rebecca Montalbano, had been teaching sixth grade math and science, and she has been replaced by Robert Gorecki, teaching sixth grade science and eight grade life science elective

Beverly Noble is now teaching fifth grade English and Christopher Knight is the new sixth grade math teacher,

The position of teaching intensive math remains to be filled.

Science teacher Heidi Montgomery, who used to teach science, has been wooed away from Wakulla High School.

Aaliyah West left as the dual enrollment lab teacher and has been replaced with Erica Stratton. Sandra Croy left as head of the medical academy, and that posotion has been frozen.

Kelsey Jones left the alternative school for Leon High School, and William McCullough for North Florida Christian, and they have been replaced there by Ronald Laone and former ABC School phys ed teacher Ray Bailey.

The new elementary ISS and middle school football coach is Mathew Duggar, while Pam Aursland has joined as the seventh and eighth grade English and Language Arts teacher.

Also new is Lisa Bain, who handles intensive reading to high schoolers, ACT-SAT prep and 11th grade English.

“The faculty has been very supportive of one another, they have really helped a lot of our new teachers as they transition to Franklin County,” said Rosson. “They are eager to get in the classroom and work with the students.
She said many of the teachers recruited by Human Resource Director Karen Peddie are from out of state, including one from Texas, one from Wyoming and two from Connecticut.

“Most are somewhat seasoned,” said Rosson. 

She said many have found housing, although some have temporary arrangements while they are closing on property, with one still looking, traveling back and forth from Dothan, Alabama.

At the ABC School, Kirvin said the new teachers include teachers with ties to the school.

Former elementary school teacher and superintendent Traci Yoder is at third grade, while Michael Cassidy, who earned her masters from Florida State University is in the second grade.

Former third grade teacher Jessi Ammons is now teaching middle school English and Language Arts while former second grade teacher Kate Bergthod is now the English as a Second Language teacher.

Jennifer Sterling has moved from kindergarten to math intervention, while Cynthia Fender is mover middle school ESE, with Anna Keil leaving thaqt post to teach middle school math and science.

Samantha Mathis teaches sixth and seventh grade science, while Brea Wayt has moved from Title 1 reading teacher to ESE.

Merrill Livingston is back teaching art while Lizzy Green is new as music teacher. Phys ed duties will be handled by paraprofessionals Ayden Pearson and Melanie Collins.

Also new on campus is Deputy Jamie Shiver as the school resource officer.

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