Kegley will lead new school

LSSD has also filled the role of Kegley’s co-pilot at Winfree Bryant. Randy Sampson, current assistant principal of WJB, was chosen to be assistant principal at the new middle school.

“We are really excited about the opportunities that we have. Mrs. Kegley and Sampson will do a wonderful job at our middle schools,” said Dr. Sharon Roberts, director of LSSD.

With these two positions vacant at Walter J. Baird, LSSD has moved Pam Sampson from across the street at Castle Heights Upper Elementary to become the new principal of WJB. Mrs. Sampson has been serving as CHUE’s assistant principal and has also been an elementary and middle school teacher.

Scott Benson, former principal at Walter J. Baird, will become the full-time assistant director of Schools after serving as interim assistant director since Sept. 1 when Randall Hutto vacated the position to take office as County Mayor.

Also, Linda McDowell, current assistant principal of Walter J. Baird, will complete the leadership teams at both middle schools beginning in August. She will split her time between the new schools as the district’s assistant principal for Teacher Effectiveness.

“We are fortunate to have such competent leaders within our district who demonstrate the characteristics and skills needed to lead our schools,” Roberts said.

The district is also working on restructuring its zones to take into account the new middle school, however Roberts wanted to assure everyone that large changes to where kids will attend school won’t be made.

“When people hear rezoning, they think that we’re going to make a lot of changes, but we’re really not,” Roberts said.

Elementary Schools under LSSD will take on a fifth grade class of students and Castle Heights Upper Elementary will become another elementary school instead of housing only fifth and sixth graders. The two middle schools will hold all sixth, seventh and eighth grade students.

Roberts said last year they created a tentative zoning plan based on student numbers from the previous year and are currently working on the new zoning plan. However, Roberts said they are on a “first thing’s first” schedule right now.

The district’s top priority is getting approval from the state Board of Education for a new school number for Winfree Bryant and approval for the changes being made to elementary schools.

“Right now we’re just waiting for approval from the state,” Roberts said, referring to the changes.

When approval is given, Roberts said the district will use a Student Information System that catalogues every student’s address and information and will create zones for them based on that information.

When a plan is settled on, the district will send out letters to parents to inform them of which schools their kids will be attending, up through middle school. They will also hold community meetings to allow parents to have any questions answered.

“Parents can come and see the maps, ask questions and meet the principals,” Roberts said.

With the elementary schools adding a new grade, Roberts said she doesn’t anticipate the new zoning plan causing many students to leave their current school. She couldn’t be certain if a fourth grade student may, for example, attend a different school for fifth grade because of rezoning.

“We will look at those situations on an individual, case-by-case basis should they arise,” Roberts said.

“We are enjoying the planning involved and look forward to enhancing our middle school program within our district,” she said.

Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at