Most of the eight vacancies in the past two weeks in Lauderdale County schools have been filled, following a Wednesday night school board meeting.

In a regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday, the county school board  filled most of the vacant positions, but officials declined to give any reasons for the sudden departures.

Four of the resignations were accepted in a regularly scheduled meeting Nov. 20 — Tyler Mobley, a special education teacher at Lauderdale County High School; Stephen Smallwood, a science teacher at LCHS; Belinda Green, a Pre-K assistant at LCHS; and Doys Whitehead, a county-wide skilled maintenance worker.

Two days later in an emergency called meeting, three more resignations were approved — Brooks Elementary teacher's aide Joshua Hamner; Heather Bugg, a special education teacher at Lauderdale County High School; and LCHS custodian Madison Holden.

During Wednesday's meeting, the vacancies mounted to eight as the board approved Brooks Elementary teacher Mary Killen's intent to retire, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

Superintendent Jon Hatton did not comment on the vacancies or the situation surrounding those, but said it was imperative that the positions be filled immediately.

Board member Daniel Patterson agreed quick action was necessary.

"It's always a bad situation when you lose that many employees all at once and it affects the students, so we need to fill these positions as soon as possible," Patterson said.

While board member Ronnie Owens said he couldn't comment on personnel issues or the circumstances surrounding the resignations, he did stress the resignations that the board addressed in the called meeting, as well as Mobley's earlier that week, "did not involve students in any way."

Board members also said social media has proven to be an enemy to credible information regarding the reasons for the resignations. 

Those hired to fill the vacancies included Reid Newton as custodian at LCHS, effective Dec. 6; James Crutcher, skilled maintenance, countywide, effective Jan. 3, 2020; Emily Stewart and Rachel Lawrimore, special education teachers at LCHS, effective Dec. 5 and Dec. 16, respectively; Taylor Raines, science teacher at LCHS and Heather Newell as Brooks Elementary teacher, effective Jan. 3, 2020.

Hamner's teacher aide position at Brooks Elementary was not filled Wednesday. 


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