By Kathryn Schiliro, Managing Editor

The Morgan County Board of Education (BOE) Monday night unanimously, with Board Member Keith Howard absent, approved a measure making former Morgan County Elementary School (MCES) principal, Jean Triplett, a half-time interim assistant superintendent.

The decision to name Triplett to the position came following a sudden decision by Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning Debra White to retire. Her resignation letter states that her decision was made because of “personal reasons beyond my immediate control.” Her retirement went into effect July 31.

White was employed as an assistant superintendent in Morgan County for two years.

The choice to name an interim assistant superintendent was made because of timing. “There’s not a way to advertise and go through the hiring process at the beginning of the school year,” Bennett said, as most potential employees have already signed contracts and started or are about to start the school year.

Triplett will be in the position through the entire school year.

Triplett was chosen because she “has done this work and can keep that work going,” Superintendent Dr. Ralph Bennett told the Citizen. He went on to point out that she’s already acclimated to the school system and will be a familiar face to principals, and will maintain the system’s focus on literacy and the “continuous improvement process.”

Triplett is working half-time because she retired from MCES last year and a half-time position is all that she’s eligible for, Bennett said. Further, Bennett said that system administration’s been questioned in the past about whether it was necessary to have two assistant superintendents, so this will be “an opportunity to find out whether we can or not,” he said.

In the meantime, Bennett and Assistant Superintendent Sarah Burbach will pick up some of what was required of White: Burbach will work on the upcoming SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) accreditation, happening at the start of the year, while Bennett will see to federal programs and professional learning, he said.

Provided they elect to keep the position, the BOE will advertise for the position around January. It’s also possible that they could decide to move Triplett into the position permanently, Bennett said.

The BOE also unanimously approved the personnel list, including the resignation of a bus driver and school nutrition employee; the hiring of a paraprofessional at the high school and another at the elementary school; and the moving of a bus driver from substitute to full-time.