Superintendent Jon Hatton

Lauderdale County School Superintendent Jon Hatton

Lauderdale County Superintendent Jon Hatton now says all but one of the eight vacancies in his school district have been filled.

The positions were filled during the school board's regular meeting Wednesday, but confusion surrounded the board action on the positions.

Job titles for several of the new hires didn't match the titles of the seven individuals who had resigned in the past two weeks.

Officials declined Wednesday 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.

Further miscommunication occurred between Hatton and media members in attendance when he was asked, following Wednesday's meeting, if the vacant positions had been filled.

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."

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, Brooks Elementary teacher, effective Jan. 3, 2020.

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

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