WGSD Hires Mayes And Beecham

  • Shenita Mayes Dr. Shenita Mayes has been hired by the Webster Groves School District to become principal of Hixson Middle School. Dr. Mayes had been an assistant principal at Northeast Middle School in the Parkway School District. She holds a doctoral degree in education leadership from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. She’s also been an assistant principal at Parkway Central High School and taught English language arts at the middle school level.

    Superintendent John Simpson said that he is delighted to have Dr. Mayes join the district. In his recommendation to the board, he noted that her vision, leadership skills and commitment to equity will prove invaluable as Hixson transitions to a sixth through eighth grade middle school in 2021-22.

    “Dr. Mayes’ commitment to equity is known and highly respected by those with whom she works, and clearly came through as a signature strength,” he said. “She leverages her knowledge and skill in a positive way in support of student engagement, curriculum development and more. She will and does take a stand for children and for what’s right.”

    In addition, the district hired Malissa Beecham to be principal of Dr. Henry Givens Elementary School. In the interest of what’s best for Givens as it makes the transition to a neighborhood school, she is spending the 2020-21 school year exclusively focused on:

    • Developing and nurturing meaningful relationships with members of the school community, including working with them throughout the year to cast a vision for the school and the path to take together to realize that vision,
    • Hiring additional staff members to join the caring and talented team at Givens,
    • Discovering and developing partnerships with local and regional businesses and organizations, in support of student learning and well-being,
    • Working with others to develop and begin implementing plans to support the transition of the building and campus to an elementary-only site, and
    • Anything else that’s needed to ensure a successful launch of the school in 2021-22.

    Malissa Beecham Beecham, who had been assistant principal at Ross Elementary School in the Parkway School District, holds a master's degree in education administration and a bachelor's degree in elementary education, both from Southeast Missouri State University. Before taking the position at Ross School, she was a fifth grade teacher in Parkway and a fourth grade teacher in Cape Girardeau, Mo. In 2011, she received the Missouri Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award.

    Dr. Simpson said, "Ms. Beecham's knowledge of teaching and learning is outstanding...She is a caring, confident and courageous leader. While her answers demonstrated much empathy and care for the adults she leads, it is clear that the needs of her students will always come first."
    Dr. Pam Retzlaff, a retired district principal, is serving as interim principal for Givens and Steger Sixth Grade Center during the 2020-21 school year. In addition to Jeff Atterberry’s strong leadership as assistant principal of the schools, Dr. Retzlaff’s expertise and experience at multiple levels within the district are providing support to Givens and Steger Sixth Grade Center in this important year for both schools.

    “While the approach we’re taking isn’t common, it is sometimes done when opening a new school. We feel it’s the right decision in support of the school’s success in 2021-22 and beyond, and have planned accordingly,” Dr. Simpson said.