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2009-04-29 / Schools

Kerry Birdwell named high school principal

BY QUINTEN BOYD

Alto School Board secretary Britton Tilley (third from right) was honored for his 20 years of service to Alto ISD and the Alto School Board. From left are board vice-president Greg Duplichain, Jay Jones, Randy Low, Mr. Tilley, Lee Pearman and board president Freddy Johnson. Not pictured is board member Lionel Whitaker. Alto School Board secretary Britton Tilley (third from right) was honored for his 20 years of service to Alto ISD and the Alto School Board. From left are board vice-president Greg Duplichain, Jay Jones, Randy Low, Mr. Tilley, Lee Pearman and board president Freddy Johnson. Not pictured is board member Lionel Whitaker. Dr. Ray DeSpain and the Alto School Board have found the next man to lead Alto High School.

At the April school board meeting, the Alto School Board learned that Kerry Birdwell, currently the middle school principal at Sweetwater ISD, has been hired as the new AHS principal. His contract will officially start on July 1, but Mr. Birdwell will be on campus during the month of May to begin working with staff and students.

"We chose him from over 75 applicants," Dr. DeSpain said. "He is a real solid family guy, a solid Christian man and he is big on community service. We are very pleased and excited to get him."

Mr. Birdwell will replace Donald Patton, who resigned in February in order to pursue other career opportunities.

In Mr. Birdwell's term as principal at Sweetwater Middle School, voters passed a bond issue to help SMS build a new gymnasium. In addition, SMS recently sent 21 students to San Antonio and the Texas Math and Science Coaches Association (TMSCA) state competition.

"Mr. Birdwell brings a lot to the table for us academically," Dr. DeSpain said. "We are very interested in some of the things that he has done with curriculum and with kids that struggle academically. He has a lot of experience with a diverse student population."

Alto ISD will continue the search for a counselor to replace Barbara Brown, who announced her retirement in February.

"We wanted to make sure that we had a principal in place," Dr. DeSpain said. "We want Mr. Birdwell to be part of the interview process."

The school board also discussed progress on Alto's new elementary school. Dr. DeSpain said that the district intends to "have the keys" to the new building by the first or middle of July.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Kevin Pierce spoke to the board about a new main entrance to the elementary school, a subject that had previously been discussed at February's school board meeting.

"The entrance road will be a joint project between the school, the county and Tx- DOT," Dr. DeSpain said. "The construction of the building itself is coming along very nicely."

The school board accepted the resignation of high school Biology teacher Anna Mason. Ms. Mason is moving to the Metroplex after her upcoming wedding.

Alto School Board secretary Britton Tilley was honored for his 20 years of service to the board and Alto ISD. Mr. Tilley will not seek re-election to the board at the end of his term in May.

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