School board approves four new principals

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The selections of four school principals were approved by the Beaufort County Board of Education.

The new principals will take the top positions at Beaufort Elementary, Hilton Head Island Middle, St. Helena Elementary and Joseph S. Shanklin Elementary schools.

“This is a strong and well-qualified group of leaders who have solid educational experience and an intense focus on academics,” said Jeffrey Moss, who will take over as district superintendent on July 1 and who participated in the interviews for all four principals.“The school interview teams were very impressed with their backgrounds and their enthusiasm.”

The new principals are:

Nicole Holloman (St. Helena Elementary School)

Holloman has served this school year as an assistant principal at Broad River Elementary and last year served as an assistant principal at Beaufort High.

From 2007-2011, she was an assistant principal at Hartsville Middle School in Darlington County.  She was a Spanish teacher and guidance counselor from 2001-2007 at middle and high schools in Georgia and in Dillon and Hartsville, South Carolina.  Holloman has a B.S. in Science from Georgia Southern University, a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on guidance and counseling from the University of Georgia), an Education Specialist degree from the University of Georgia and a Master’s Degree in Education with a focus on administration from the University of South Carolina.

Celestine LaVan (Shanklin Elementary School)

LaVan has served this school year as an assistant principal at Shanklin, and for the previous two years as an assistant principal at Whale Branch Elementary.  She was a math coach and testing coordinator at Beaufort Elementary in 2009-2010, and from 2005-2009 taught fourth- and fifth-graders at Beaufort Elementary and at schools in Hattiesburg and Meridian, Mississippi.  LaVan served in the U.S. Navy from 1993-1997.  She has a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi, a Master’s Degree with a focus on teaching and learning from Ashford University in Iowa and an Education Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Liberty University in Virginia.

Gary McCulloch (Beaufort Elementary School)

McCulloch has been principal for the past two years of Kent County Middle School in Chestertown, Md.  During the 2010-11 school year, he was principal at Galena Elementary School in Galena, Md., and from 2007-10 he was principal at Rock Hall Middle School in Rock Hall, Md. McCulloch has a B.S. in Sports Medicine from Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia, a Master’s Degree in Education from Wilmington University in Delaware and an Education Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida.

Gregory Stickel (Hilton Head Island Middle School)

Stickel has served this school year as principal at Northridge Middle School in Winchester, Ohio.  From 2009-12 he was principal at Urbana Junior High School in Urbana, Ohio, and from 2006-09 he was principal at General Sherman Junior High School in Lancaster, Ohio.

The selection process

After all applications for the position were screened to make certain that the candidates met the basic qualifications, a screening team reviewed the applications in depth and recommended candidates for personal interviews.  The screening team included the Chief Instructional Services Officer, Acting Human Resources Services Officer, incoming Superintendent Moss and Acting Superintendent Jackie Rosswurm.

Next, an interview committee at each school met with its recommended candidates.  That committee comprised seven members: a parent leader selected by the School Improvement Council, the school’s teacher of the year as selected by the faculty, a principal of a similar or “feeder” school, the district’s Chief Instructional Services Officer, Acting Human Resources Services Officer, Acting Superintendent, and incoming superintendent.

After each interview, committee members rated the candidate and those ratings were submitted to the Acting Superintendent and Incoming Superintendent.  After the selected candidate’s personal references were called and verified, a recommendation was made to the Board of Education.