When the Faculty and Staff HR Committee met in February 2011 to discuss the search process and job descriptions of the division heads, a lively conversation ensued. The members of the committee began to ask if there is a way to take the word “divided” out of our vocabulary. Is there a way to get all the tasks completed but with a unified, whole-school outlook? How can we structure our administrative team so that students and their families build relationships with administrators that continue through Highlands School from preschool through eighth grade?
The HR Committee recommended that if the right people were found, we approach the positions, not as “division heads” but as whole-school administrators. The committee envisioned two administrators, Director of Student Services and Director of Curriculum and Instruction, working closely together to support our families and our faculty across all our grade levels. The committee searched for two individuals whose skills and personalities complement each other and Mrs. Barr.
The HR Committee searched through over a hundred resumes, met with over twenty-five candidates for initial interviews and brought three candidates to the campus for a rigorous interview schedule that included meetings with all of the faculty and staff and representatives from the students, parents, trustees, and alumni. Thanks to the hard work of many people, we are excited to tell you that we have found the right people for these positions.
Beginning July 1, 2011, Elise Blackerby will be our Director of Curriculum and Instruction. Mrs. Blackerby has a long career in education teaching a variety of grades, serving on curriculum committees, sharing presentations, and mentoring teachers. She has taught third, fourth, and fifth grades at Highlands School following over twenty years in the Mountain Brook Schools. Elise and her husband, Vince, have a daughter in college and a son in law school. Not only is she uniquely talented for this position, she is eager to dedicate her newly found empty nester time to Highlands School.
Robert McGehee will be our Director of Student Services starting July 1, 2011. Mr. McGehee is currently the assistant headmaster at St. Bernard in Nashville. He served St. Paul’s Academy in Mobile for over fifteen years in various positions including Upper School Dean of Students, and teacher of fourth through seventh grade students. Robert earned his undergraduate degree in English Literature at University of the South, Sewanee and his Master’s degree in elementary education at Lesley College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His interests include outdoor education, sailing, and rock climbing.
Open Faculty positions are also being filled at this time.
Stacey Hueghan Wolf has accepted the second grade teaching position. Stacey attended U.A.B., where she cheered for football and men’s basketball and received her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She has worked with Harris McCloud for the past two years in pre-school and kindergarten. Many of the parents and students had an opportunity to meet her as she worked in the office during the afternoons last year. Stacey is married to Bryan Wolf, and in her free time, she enjoys running, reading, and working on crafty projects.
Michelle Crawford is officially joining the Highlands School Community. Many of you are already familiar with Michelle and her amazing teaching talents, as she has worked at Highlands during maternity leaves as a long-term substitute teacher in second, third, and fifth grades. Before coming to Highlands School last year, she taught second grade. Mrs. Crawford graduated summa cum laude, from the University of Montevallo’s College of Education, is K-6 certified and is Highly Qualified. She is married and has two children. Her favorite pastimes include reading, journaling, working jigsaw puzzles, and traveling with her husband.
Charlotte Gill Leffel has accepted the position of music teacher. Charlotte has dedicated her life to studying, performing, and teaching music. She earned her B.A. in Music Technology from U.A.B. She has performed in a variety of musical genres, singing and playing with rock bands and jazz combos as well as some of the leading church choirs in Birmingham. Charlotte began her teaching career 20 years ago when she started teaching private piano lessons while still in high school. She continued teaching and studying music through college and after, eventually leading her to open The Pink House in 1999. As the owner and lead teacher of The Pink House, Charlotte has taught thousands of children in the Birmingham area over the last 12 years. She currently teaches Kindermusik and piano in The Pink House studio and travels to several Birmingham area schools to provide music education to their students. In addition, she teaches elementary music at N. E. Miles Jewish Day School, where she leads performances several times a year. Charlotte brings her energy and creative spirit to communicate a love and appreciation for music to children. Charlotte strongly believes that “the gift of music is something a child will have throughout a lifetime.”