Longtime Golden Springs Elementary Principal Betty Merriweather is retiring from that position after three decades in education, the Anniston Board of Education announced Thursday.
“You think about all the lives she’s changed — she can walk around this community and see the generations she’s impacted,” said Robert Houston, board president, after a Thursday meeting in which the board agreed on Merriweather’s replacement.
Phillip Posey, the assistant principal of Anniston High School, will take over Merriweather’s post at Golden Springs for the new school year.
“I think he’s a great person, not to fill her shoes but to follow behind her,” Houston said after the meeting. “He’ll do great.”
Board member Becky Brown said Merriweather had first worked as a teacher before becoming a principal, in an education career that lasted 30 years. She was the Anniston system’s “Teacher of the Year” for 2006-07 while she taught fifth-graders at Tenth Street Elementary. Appointment as Golden Springs’ principal came not long after that.
Points of school system pride were a frequent discussion topic Thursday night. Board member and former Superintendent Joan Frazier pointed out that the system has improved its financial situation from last year. At this time last year, she said, Anniston schools had a deficit of more than $474,000. The 2019 fiscal year general fund balance sits at just over $514,000 now.
Frazier added that the school year may not end with that much money, given that back-to-school season can sometimes arrive with surprise costs, but she said she was grateful for the positive change.
Jimmie Thompson, Anniston City Schools chief financial officer, attributed the surplus to reduced operating costs in the summer months — the child nutrition program, for instance, doesn’t have a full stock of students to feed from day to day — and better management of utility services.
During the meeting, the school board also:
— Heard from Thompson about air conditioning at Golden Springs Elementary, where one of the cooling units needed to be replaced. He said HVAC company Trane was expected to ship a replacement unit July 27, just a few days more than a week before classes reconvene on Aug. 6. He said new Superintendent D. Ray Hill authorized the purchase of 15 portable air conditioning units to go in classrooms in the affected part of the building, which would keep temperatures between 72-75 degrees.
— Authorized the scheduling of a called meeting and work session at the request of Hill, though a scheduling conflict ruled out the proposed dates of July 30-31. Hill said he would meet with board members individually to figure out dates.
— Tabled a change of hours at the central office for further discussion, at Hill’s request.
The board meets on the third Thursday of every month. Its next scheduled meeting is Aug. 15.