Collins claims seat as Tuscola principal

Shipman named Bethel Elementary principal
By Shelby Harrell Staff Writer | Jun 10, 2014
Photo by: Shelby Harrell Travis Collins, who is currently the principal at Canton Middle School, was chosen to serve as the new principal at Tuscola High School beginning next fall.

Heavy tension filled the Haywood County Education Center on Monday night when the Haywood County Board of Education took a vote on who would be the new principals for Tuscola High School and Bethel Elementary School.

At the end of the lengthy meeting, Superintendent Anne Garrett announced that Travis Collins would be taking over as Tuscola principal and Kim Shipman would be taking over as principal of Bethel Elementary School.

Collins will replace retiring Tuscola principal Dale McDonald, who was at the school's helm as principal for eight years, and served as vice principal for two years before.

Collins has taught at the elementary school level, served as an assistant principal at Waynesville Middle School for one year, served as an assistant principal at Pisgah High School for four years, was a principal at Meadowbrook Elementary for five years, and has been the principal at Canton Middle School for the past three years, Garrett said.

After his name was called, Collins was greeted by a member of Tuscola’s booster organization and was given a hat and shirt.

A beaming Collins approached the podium and recalled fond memories of working in the Waynesville and Canton communities, adding that he had learned a lot from the leaders and teachers he worked with.

“We are truly blessed to work in this community, and I am so humbled by the opportunity serve as the principal of Tuscola High School,” he said. “I get chills when I think about it — when I think about a school like Tuscola with the history and tradition and what an awesome opportunity this is for me.”

Collins also expressed his gratitude toward his supportive family .

“If you know me, you know my family — Melissa, Jack and Ruthie,” Collins said about his wife and children. “When I told them earlier tonight that I had to go to a special meeting and that ‘daddy was possibly going to be changing jobs,’ Ruthie asked me where, and I said ‘Tuscola,’ — the first thing she said was, ‘You’re going to have to get more yellow.’”

Shipman replaces Jill Barker, who has been the principal at Bethel Elementary for the last 15 years. Barker was recently hired as the new Title 1 and AIG director for Haywood County Schools. During her tenure as principal, she oversaw the move into the county's newest elementary school and helped the school attain status as a National Title 1 school, a designation that is in the top 1 percent in the nation.

Shipman has taught prekindergarten and first grade at North Canton Elementary, kindergarten at Riverbend Elementary, has been the lead teacher at Riverbend and also was the assistant principal at Waynesville Middle School, Garrett said. She has 19 years of progressive experience in education with six years serving as a lead teacher.

“Her experience at Riverbend and Waynesville Middle School will be beneficial in facilitating Bethel Elementary School’s continued success,” Garrett said.

When her name was called, Shipman made her way up to the front of the room with a glowing smile.

“This is a very humbling experience for me,” she said. “It’s an honor to be asked to go to Bethel Elementary School and serve such a phenomenal staff and such a great community.”

Shipman said she was grateful for all her experiences she’s had working with other teachers.

“I just appreciate so much the opportunity to serve and I want to thank my family because over the years they have been so supportive to me in my career decision. I want to thank the great leaders that I have worked for ... I’m so excited about this opportunity."

Chuck Francis, chairman of the board of education, concluded the meeting by congratulating the new principals.

“We appreciate your willingness to serve in those communities — they’re not easy communities I can tell you, but we expect a lot and I know the community does,” Francis said. “But congratulations and we challenge you to do your best and I know you will.”

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