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The Marion County High School Site-Based Decision Making Council interviewed candidates for the vacant principal's seat last week, but they have not yet selected who will be offered the position.
The council held a special-called meeting Monday, and it was scheduled to meet again Tuesday evening (after the Enterprise had gone to press) to discuss the seven finalists for the vacant high school principal's seat.
Wednesday morning, Jeff Robbins, the chairman of the council, was limited in what he could say about the process. The council will meet again Thursday at 6 p.m. in a regular meeting.
Robbins said he could not predict if anyone would be offered the position by Friday, which is the first day of school for students. When asked if any candidates might be called back for a second interview, Robbins said he could not comment, citing confidentiality issues with the selection process.
In the meantime, Diane Evans, the district's elementary education director, will continue serving as the interim principal, according to Superintendent Donald Smith. Evans has been interim principal since Taylora Schlosser (the previous principal) was named the district's assistant superintendent.
The finalists include five men and two women. Four of the candidates work within the school system, and three are from outside the district.
Martha Ann Mattingly, a member of the MCHS Site-Based Decision Making Council, was impressed with the finalists.
"They were chosen to be interviewed because they were all excellent," she said.
Philip Chatigny, another council member, agreed. "They were all wonderful candidates," he said. Here are the finalists: Paula Curtis, math teacher at Marion County High School
Curtis is a 1990 graduate of Campbellsville College (now Campbellsville University). She completed her master's degree at Western Kentucky University in 1995 and her Rank I at Eastern Kentucky University in 2000.
Curtis is a veteran at Marion County High School where she has been a teacher for 19 years. She and her husband, Alan, have two children, Joe Ben, 13, and Mariella, 9.
"I have taught here a long time. I have seen a lot of changes at Marion County High School. I wanted to be a part of the future in whatever Marion County has to offer. I wanted to take a bigger part in that," Curtis said. "The teachers take a great part, but I wanted to take the next step."
Steve Evans - assistant Principal at Boyle County Middle School
Evans completed all his post-secondary education at Eastern Kentucky University, where he received his bachelor's degree, master's degree, Rank I and instructional superintendent's certificate.
Evans started his career as a physical education teacher at Kirksville Elementary. He then worked at Berea Independent (a K-12 school) as the assistant principal and athletics director. He also worked as the assistant principal at Boyle County High School and as the principal at Peaks Mill Elementary in Franklin County before he became the assistant principal at Boyle County Middle.
He and his wife, Kim, have three children, Cheyenne (in college), Tabitha (a high school sophomore), and Fisher, a fifth grader.
Evans said that in Boyle County, they value high academics, and one way they've done that is comparing themselves with surrounding school districts. He said he has noticed that Marion County has scored well from what he's seen.
"I knew that Marion was doing the right things to help students and moving in the right direction," he said. "In my role as assistant [principal], I'm looking to be an educational leader. When this opportunity came along, I knew all the great things that Marion was doing, and I wanted to be a part of that."
Stacey Hall - assistant principal and athletics director at MCHS
Hall is a graduate of Centre College. He completed his master's degree at Eastern Kentucky University.
Hall has been an educator for 15 years, nine years as a teacher and six years as an administrator. He was the principal at Washington County Middle School for two years before he came to Marion County as an assistant principal.
Hall is married to Lisa, who is a teacher at Lebanon Elementary School. He has five children, ranging in age from 3 to 14.
Hall sees applying for the principal's seat as part of a natural progression.
"I've been here for four years. The opportunity came along. I got married to a young lady that lives here in the district, here in Lebanon. I'm going to make Lebanon my home, instead of having to drive in all the time," he said. "Everything has gone natural for it."
Curtis Higgins, math teacher and head football coach at Fern Creek High School
Higgins graduated from Westport High School in 1980. He completed his bachelor's degree in business administration, received his teaching certificate, finished his master's degree and earned his Rank I certificate, all at the University of Louisville. He is working toward completing his principal's certificate, which he said he will complete in December if he is offered the Marion County position.
Higgins' educational career started 27 years ago, when he was an assistant football coach while he was still a student at U of L. He has been a certified teacher for 20 years.
Higgins started his career as a teacher and an assistant football coach at South Oldham High School. Two years later, he moved to Oldham County High School, where he was the head football coach. He also worked at Male High School (as a math teacher and assistant football coach), and for eight years he worked at Trigg County High School where he served as the head football coach, middle school athletics director and high school assistant athletics director. He has been at Fern Creek for the past three years.
He and his wife, Melissa, have two daughters, Lea, 24, and Olivia, 16.
Higgins applied for the MCHS principal's seat because he knows some people who live here, and the high school reminds him of Trigg County.
"You're a little larger than Trigg, but a community school, you know, one school in the county. I really enjoy that type of atmosphere," Higgins said. "It was an opportunity for me to shift to administration full time and get out of that coaching. A new challenge in leading students and leading the school. I've had a lot of leadership roles, and this will be a new challenge."
Eric King, director of the alternative school at Marion County High School
King is a graduate of Marion County High School. He received his undergraduate degree from Campbellsville College (now Campbellsville University). He completed his Rank I in administration at Eastern Kentucky University, and he recently received an executive management degree from the University of Notre Dame's Mendoza College of Business.
During his career, King taught at MCHS for a year, then helped start the alternative school program, which he ran for five years. He served as the principal at Calvary Elementary School for three years before returning to the alternative school for seven years.
King is engaged to Christa Michelle Bishop and has four sons.
"I grew up here. I've lived here since I was 11 years old," King said. "And I want to help this community produce the kind of high school students that the community decides that they want."
Christina McRay, assistant principal at Marion County High School
McRay graduated from Campbellsville University with a bachelor's degree in business administration. She completed her master's in education with a focus in business education at the University of Kentucky, and she received her Rank I from the University of the Cumberlands.
McRay, a Marion County native, taught at Bullitt Central High School for eight years before she became an assistant principal here in February.
She and her husband, Todd, have two children, Alyssa, 12, and Mason, 5.
"In my short time here, I've discovered a real passion for the high school here," she said. "I raise my children here, live here, and I want the school to be a success. I can be a strong leader, and I think that I'm a good candidate for that position."
Michael Tinsley, principal at Christian County Middle School
Tinsley started his college career at Georgetown College before transferring to Western Kentucky University, where he completed his bachelor's degree in business education. He also completed his master's degree at WKU. He has also received certifications in marketing and consumerism from the University of Kentucky, and he is working on his doctorate at the University of Louisville.
Tinsley worked in Ohio County as a teacher and an assistant principal for seven years before he became the principal at Christian County Middle six years ago.
He and his wife, Shannan, have four children, ages 12, 10 and two 7-year-olds.
Tinsley said part of the reason he is looking for a new position is because his wife, a police officer, will be an instructor at the police academy. Marion County appealed to him because of the "great staff and great students," he said. He would like to help MCHS reach its potential.
"It is a school that has a great staff and great students, but the scores are only good, meaning that there is so much potential here for greatness in the eyes of the state," he said. "When you look from the outside in, it looks like it's a good school. I've come to find out, it's got great students and a great staff. There's so much education in the building, 75 percent are master's [degrees], 50 percent or more are Rank I... We need to utilize the faculty we have in the building to move forward to greatness. I think a lot of people are satisfied with good. We need to move them on to great."