PETAL, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Petal School District
Emily Branch has been named principal at Petal Upper Elementary School for the 2017-2018 school year. Branch has served as Assistant Principal at the school since July 2014. Prior to taking that position, she served as an administrative intern through the University of Mississippi's Principal Corp program for a year and had also taught kindergarten and first grade in Petal for ten years. She also taught five years in Simpson County before moving to Petal.
Branch is a graduate of Magee High School and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Millsaps College, a Master's of Education Degree from William Carey University and Specialist in Educational Leadership from the University of Mississippi. She also earned National Board Certification in the area of early childhood.
Branch is replacing current principal, Rob Knight, who was named principal of Petal High School last month. Both Branch and Knight will officially assume their new positions on July 1, 2017.
Superintendent Dr. Matt Dillon feels Branch is the best choice for the principal position. "Mrs. Branch is a valued long-term educator in our district. She understands our culture and our expectations. She has been an excellent assistant principal at Petal Upper Elementary under the direction of two different principals and is now ready to assume the role of Principal. She will ensure that the excellent teaching in classrooms continues and she has the capacity to lead the staff and students to even higher academic achievement."
Additionally, Bill Lott will assume the duties of Maintenance Director upon the retirement of current director Walter Farris. Lott currently is the district's Director of Transportation and will continue to hold that position while adding the maintenance department responsibilities.
Lott is a graduate of Petal High School and previously worked for beverage companies and also spent nine years paying pro baseball. Lott began working as the Director of Transportation in July 2010. He will officially add his new responsibilities on July 1, 2017.
Superintendent Dr. Matt Dillon is confident Lott can handle the responsibilities of both departments. "Walter Farris has done an excellent job in maintaining our facilities and campuses. He has trained his staff so well that they fully understand their responsibilities. Mr. Lott has also done an outstanding job with his staff in the transportation department. Because of the work ethic already developed in the maintenance department and because of the high expectations of Mr. Lott, I think he will be able to oversee and maintain excellent operations in both departments."