Morenci has a new school principal 09.01.2010

Written by David Green.

steve.phillip.jpgBy DAVID GREEN

Stephen Phillip received word Friday that he was chosen to serve as Morenci’s interim principal. He was at the school the next day reviewing information with other administrators in an effort to prepare for the first day of classes Sept. 7.

When high school principal Nate Parker took a new job in Adrian, superintendent Dr. Michael Osborne favored putting a long-term interim principal in place quickly. The permanent position will be posted in the spring, he said, and the job might continue to be filled by Phillip.

“He comes highly recommended,” Osborne said. “We checked several references and the main quality that came through is that he’s a person of character. We could see it in the interviews.”

A committee of school staff members interviewed five candidates last week. Those five also were interviewed by school administrators. The top three choices met with a board of education committee.

Phillip was also described as having a strong work ethic, Osborne said, and that will be needed for someone new to the district filling a new administrative role—a combined high school/middle school principal.

Retired middle school principal Kay Johnson is helping Phillip become oriented and Parker has also offered to assist.

“We’re formulating a plan of how to go forward to bring the middle school and high school staffs together,” Osborne said.

All but two of the high school teachers will teach at least one class at the middle school in the new school year.

Phillip attended Whitmore Lake High School and comes from a family of educators. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Eastern Michigan University and a master’s degree in Costa Rica through Framingham (Mass.) State College.

While in Costa Rica he met the woman who would become his wife. The couple live in the Camden area and have three children.

He has taught in South Carolina and in three Michigan districts. He served as the English as a Second Language consultant for the Adrian school district and later as the elementary school principal in Waldron before a change in administrative duties eliminated the position.

His varied experience also includes serving as the assistant director of an American Diabetes Association camp in northern Michigan.

Phillip isn’t the only change at the high school. In addition to new athletic director/behavioral specialist Taz Wallace, a new Spanish teacher and social studies teacher will be hired. Jesse Bach is on a sabbatical leave for the year.

Cindy Fankhauser will greet students in the high school office, although retired secretary Rosine Downing will be back to assist in October. At the middle school, Barb Wright will serve as the secretary.

Alternative education teacher Chris Mansfield and middle school special education teacher Andi Rorick are now in third grade classrooms.

Middle school science teacher Dan Hoffman is taking a fifth grade class and sixth grade teacher Doug Rupp is also moving to fifth grade, where three sections are needed this year.

Fifth grade teacher Beth Wright will have a fourth grade class.

Other elementary school changes include Melissa Elliott moving from second grade to first grade, Tatum Penrod moving from fourth grade to second grade, and Robin Borton moving from second grade to third grade.

Lunch prices remain at $1.75 for elementary school meals and the older grades will still pay $2. The reduced-price cost is 40 cents.

  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
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  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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