The Bulloch County schools posted job notices this week seeking principals for Southeast Bulloch High School, Mill Creek Elementary School and Portal Elementary School.
Only one the campuses, Southeast Bulloch High School, is certain to get a new principal, because the other two schools have interim principals eligible to apply for the permanent positions. But SEB High School Principal Donna Clifton recently put in for her retirement, effective June 30. She is capping 30 years as an educator with four years as principal of the high school in Brooklet after six years as principal of its feeder school, Southeast Bulloch Middle.
Meanwhile, one-year interim principal contracts are expiring for Jennifer Wade at Mill Creek Elementary and for Dr. Laurie Mascolo at Portal Elementary.
Superintendent Charles Wilson plans to make recommendations for principals of all three schools to the Bulloch County Board of Education within two months. A news release Wednesday gave March 9 as his intended latest date for the Mill Creek and Portal recommendations and April 13 as the goal line for recommending Clifton’s successor as principal at SEB High School.
“The Board of Education and I are committed to following the district’s established principal screening and selection process to ensure we have leaders in place who will carry out our vision and mission,” Wilson said.
The news release, provided by Hayley Greene, public relations specialist for the Bulloch County Schools, notes that the district’s annual contract process for principals culminates in May and is beginning with searches for principals for these three schools.
Interims may apply
Wilson appointed Wade as interim principal of Mill Creek Elementary effective last July when he transferred the school’s former principal, Patrick Hill, to Portal Middle High School, where Hill succeeded Dr. Karen Doty as principal upon her retirement.
After the resignation of Paul Hudson as Portal Elementary’s principal in August because of a felony arrest, Wilson appointed Mascolo as that school’s interim principal.
“I have deep respect and appreciation for Ms. Wade and Dr. Mascolo,” Wilson said. “They stepped up during a time of need and kept these schools moving forward.”
Wade and Mascolo each served as assistant principals in the district prior to their interim appointments. Both are eligible to apply for their schools’ principal positions, Greene stated.
“They have led their campuses well this year, and we will give consideration to the work they have done,” Wilson said.
The selection process is a rigorous one that includes candidate screenings for leadership criteria and multiple interviews, Greene said in the announcement. While the superintendent will make the final recommendations, the process allows for school council input.
Clifton concluding 30
Clifton’s 30 years as an educator include 23 years in the Bulloch County Schools. She began her career in Effingham County, where she served for seven years. Her first assignment in Bulloch County was as a fifth-grade teacher at Stilson Elementary.
After 10 years in the classroom, Clifton became an assistant principal at SEB High School, a post she held for two years before being named principal of Southeast Bulloch Middle School. After six years at the middle school, she was appointed by Wilson in 2013 to lead Southeast Bulloch High following Dr. Trey Robertson’s departure for an assistant superintendent position in Bryan County.
During Clifton’s four years as principal of the high school, it has increased its graduation rate by more than 10 percentage points, from 77.2 percent to 89.1 percent. She is also noted for her advocacy for at-risk students and as a supportive supervisor of employees, the school system’s news release stated.
The Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve program awarded Clifton both the Seven Seals Award and the Patriot Award for her support of the Air National Guard's mission and its airmen, some who have been employed at the school.