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Principals Hired for Steger/Givens Schools

The Board of Education has hired Ms. Malissa Beecham to be principal of Dr. Henry Givens Elementary School, effective July 1. In the interest of what’s best for Givens as it makes the transition to a neighborhood school, Ms. Beecham will be given the time, resources and support to spend the entire 20-21 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 existing 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.
Ms. Beecham, who currently is 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 from the same 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.
Superintendent John 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."
The board also approved hiring Dr. Pam Retzlaff, a retired district principal, to serve as interim principal for Givens and Steger Sixth Grade Center during the 2020-21 school year. In addition to serving as principal at Edgar Road for 20 years, Dr. Retzlaff did an outstanding job as the interim principal at Hixson Middle School four years ago. 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, will help provide 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.