SYLACAUGA – The Sylacauga Board of Education approved a two-year probationary contract for new Sylacauga High School Principal Jason Bryant at its meeting Thursday.

According to the contract, Bryant’s employment will begin July 1 and extend through June 30, 2016. He will be paid an annual salary of $103,000.

Bryant, who comes to Sylacauga from Phenix City Schools, was present at Thursday’s meeting and said he is thankful for the opportunity to be at SHS.

“I’m looking forward to working with the high school and here in Sylacauga,” Bryant said. “This is an opportunity for me to get back to the high school setting, and I’m looking forward to taking Sylacauga High School to that next level. We’re big on the ‘good to great,’ so we have a good school and we want to make it a great school.”

Board president Steve Marlowe told Bryant the BOE “is glad to have you here. We look forward to you being part of the community as well, because I know you are intent on moving here and being part of the fabric of our community, and that’s very important, not just for us but for everybody. We look forward to working with you.”

Bryant has 15 years experience in education, most recently serving as principal at South Girard School in Phenix City Schools for four years. Previously, he was assistant principal at Opelika High School from 2003 to 2010. He has also been a science teacher in Opelika City Schools and an adjunct instructor at Auburn University. Bryant is pursuing a doctorate in education leadership from Auburn University with an expected completion of fall 2014.

Bryant’s contract notes that he will forgo raises associated with advanced degrees, and it also allows the BOE the right to transfer Bryant to other schools at any time with no loss of salary. 

The contract states that the board will pay for Bryant to participate in a Harvard Graduate School of Education Principal Center Program upon his acceptance to the program. The board also agrees to pay for his membership to the National Association of Secondary School Principals and Sylacauga Kiwanis.

At the meeting, the BOE also approved the transfer of SHS assistant principal Donnie Guinn to Nichols-Lawson Middle School and hired Joseph Cordi as the new assistant principal at SHS.

Cordi has been graduation coach for at-risk students in Shelby County Schools since 2011. Previously, he was assistant principal for one year each at Crossroads School, Spain Park High School and Pinson Valley High School. He taught 10th grade English for six years.

In other business, the BOE approved:

• Resignations of: Pam Johnson, Nichols-Lawson bookkeeper; Lisa Higginbotham, speech pathologist; and Morgan Turner, head girls’ soccer coach.

• Retirement of bus driver Major Williams Jr.

• Employment of: Antoinette Perry, Saturday School bus driver; Rebecca Williams, 7-hour instructional assistant at Pinecrest Elementary; Dontavious Tidwell, choral music teacher at Nichols-Lawson and SHS; Laura Agricola, Spanish teacher at Nichols-Lawson and SHS; Jay Brooks, physical education teacher at Nichols-Lawson; Jackie Forbus, Nichols-Lawson bookkeeper; and Debra Atkinson, SHS job coach.

• Leaves of absence for Danielle Hilliard and Morgan Turner.

• Renewed the lawn maintenance contract with T&J Lawn Service through Dec. 31, 2014.

• Approved job descriptions for library media specialist, instructional partner and elementary and secondary guidance counselors.

The next regular BOE meeting is July 29 at 5:30 p.m., with a work session at 5 p.m., at the central office.