By 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.