Phil Stark hired as Morenci's assistant principal, AD

Written by David Green.

stark.philBy DAVID GREEN

Morenci has a new assistant secondary principal in place with the hiring of Phil Stark.

The board of education met for a special session Thursday night to hire an interim assistant principal/athletic director following the resignation of Taz Wallace last month.

A committee made up of two administrators, a teacher and a representative from the athletic department interviewed five of the 12 applicants for the job and recommended two finalists, Stark and former Morenci principal Kay Johnson.

Superintendent Dr. Michael Osborne and Campbell conducted a second interview and chose Stark for the position. The board voted unanimously to accept the administrators’ recommendation, with Carrie Dillon absent.

Stark will serve through the remainder of the school year, and during that time someone will be chosen to fill the position permanently. 

There were some excellent candidates, Osborne said, and he said that he was proud of the quality of some local people who applied for the position.

“During the interview process, it became very apparent that Mr. Stark and I do share similar philosophy on discipline and educational culture and climate in the schools,” Campbell said. “I think we’re going to work really well together. I’m excited.”

Stark is a graduate of Onsted High School. He attended Hope College for a year, where he played football, but eventually earned a degree in physical education, with a coaching emphasis, from Western Michigan University. His minor was in health.

Due to the shortage of teaching jobs in Michigan, Stark and his wife, Jessica, moved to South Carolina where Stark taught physical education and health for two years.

After returning to Michigan, the couple bought Little People’s Place child care center in Morenci and Stark has worked as a substitute teacher in the county. He also served as Morenci’s wrestling coach for the past season.

Stark’s first day on the job was Monday. His office is located in the high school principal’s office rather than in the former athletic director’s office.

Osborne said the district will advertise for the permanent position within the next few weeks. He expects that some people who might have been interested in the position didn’t apply for the interim post because they couldn’t take a temporary job.

Osborne said that Stark might have the potential to serve in the long-term role and the administration will have the opportunity to observe his work in the next few weeks.

Osborne expects to soon begin the search for a new head varsity football coach to fill another vacancy left by Wallace’s departure.

DRIVER—Transportation supervisor Devon Vernier recommended that the board hire Lynn Ann Farley to replace a driver who resigned last month. Farley has served as a substitute driver with the district.

The board voted unanimously to hire Farley.

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    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
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    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.
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    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.
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    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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