Marion County school leadership changes effective July 1


Ocala post, ocala news, marion county schools, covid-19

Marion County — Superintendent Dr. Diane Gullett has announced the following administrative leadership changes effective July 1.  The changes have been approved by members of the Marion County School Board:

  • Dunnellon Middle School – Ken McAteer returns to the school level as principal after directing the district-level Secondary Education and Student Services departments. He replaces Delbert Smallridge, who is leaving after 31 years with the district.
  • Fort McCoy School – Jordan Surdam becomes principal after serving as interim principal since January 2021.
  • Oakcrest Elementary School – Chris Sandy returns as principal after coming out of retirement four years ago to serve at the district level and most recently as principal of Reddick-Collier Elementary School. She replaces Cathy Balius, mentioned further down in this release.
  • Reddick-Collier Elementary School – Melicia Cooper becomes a first-time principal after two years with the district.
  • South Ocala Elementary School – Diana Elysee becomes a first-time principal after four years with the district. She replaces Dr. Stephanie Callaway who is leaving after 22 years with the district.
  • Sunrise Elementary School – Cathy Balius will serve as principal here. She moves from Oakcrest Elementary and replaces Natalia Robledo, who moves to Saddlewood Elementary as assistant principal.
  • Ashley Kemp, former principal at Evergreen Elementary School, becomes the Transformation School Principal and will work directly with principals to support continuous improvement across the district.

At the district level, the following changes are being made:

  • The district’s Chief Academic Officer will be Margaret Talbert Irving from Orange County Public Schools.
  • Area Directors will now be known as Area Superintendents.
  • Ben Whitehouse, former area director, becomes director of Student Pathways and Assessment, handling Career & Technical Education (CTE) programs, dual enrollment, and strategic planning.
  • Jonathan McGowan becomes director of Mental Health & Wellness and will oversee health, social work, psychologists, counselors, and others responsible for student and employee health.
  • Employee Relations moves under Human Resources led by Executive Director Jaycee Oliver.
  • Operations and Emergency Management belongs to Executive Director Barbara Dobbins, who previously oversaw Human Resources.
  • Grant Funding including federal Coronavirus relief dollars will now be supervised by Philip Leppert, who most recently served as executive director of Support Services.