Superintendent announces executive appointments
Florence One Schools Superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley announced a round of executive appointments on June 15. These individuals are current employees of the district who will transition to new roles.
“After review of their historical impact in education and careful consideration, these individuals have been selected to assist with improving teaching and learning within our school district,” O’Malley wrote in a letter to all district staff. “Effective June 15th, these individuals will begin their journey in supporting you with the school improvement process.”
The appointments are as follow:
• April Leroy has been named the new principal at Moore Middle School
• Shand Josey has been named the new principal at South Florence High School
• Jeffery Gaines has been named the new principal at Southside Middle School
• Dr. Erick Figueras has been named the new Director of Arts & Innovative Programs
• Lisa Suggs has been named the new Director of Federal Programs
Leroy has worked in Florence 1 Schools for two decades. She most recently served as the assistant principal at Sneed Middle School for two years. Leroy said that she is looking forward to leading Moore.
“Moore already has so many wonderful things going for it,” Leroy said. “I’m excited about the transition from intermediate to middle school. Students transitioning to middle school is uneasy for parents anyway but we are going to make it as smooth as possible.”
Josey has worked for 15 years in Florence 1 Schools. Her most recent position was as principal at Southside Middle School. Josey said that her time at Southside has given her a unique perspective as she transitions to South Florence.
“I have been at Southside one year but it really has given me a foundational viewpoint of how the Fine Arts Program in the high school starts in the middle school,” Josey said. “It has been great to be part of that building process in the middle school, to really see the potential that our students have. I think what I am most excited about is seeing the students flourish in high school and take advantage of the incredible opportunities the Arts Magnet Program has to offer at South Florence.”
Gaines has worked in Florence 1 Schools for a total of five years in a variety of roles, including director of bands and assistant principal. Most recently he served as the Director of Arts & Innovative Programs for the district. Gaines said that his experience as the head of the district’s arts program has been a wonderful learning experience and he looks forward to using what he’s learned to grow the arts program at Southside.
“It has always been one of my career aspirations to be a principal,” Gaines said. “After having spent a year leading the district arts programs and efforts, it is very exciting to be able to concentrate that into our arts middle school. I am very, very excited about the opportunity. This will also be a coming home of sorts because Southside is where I started teaching when I moved to Florence in 2011; I taught there for three years.”
Figueras has worked in Florence 1 Schools for 16 years. All sixteen of those years have been spent at South Florence High School teaching music, including chorus, music appreciation, and leading the Choraliers. Prior to teaching, he studied to be an opera singer and worked as a professional singer in New York. Figueras said that he is looking forward to being able to provide support for the wonderful educators and students in all Florence 1 arts programs.
“I am eager to ensure that all arts teachers continue to receive the resources and support they need to provide extraordinary instruction,” Figueras said.
Suggs has been an educator for more than two decades, working in Florence 1 for a total of 22 years. Most recently she served as the assistant principal at South Florence High School for twelve years. Suggs said that she is excited to use her experience to be a support for staff at all Florence 1 schools.
“As assistant principal, I have many roles,” Suggs said. “In this position, I will be able to give this my full attention and make some improvements on the support side. There is a support piece that the schools need when they are bogged down with the day-to-day stuff. I want to be the person that bridges the gap for them.”