Petal School District hires 2 new principals

Tyler Watkins was named the new principal at Petal High School.
Tyler Watkins was named the new principal at Petal High School.(Petal School District)
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 6:11 PM CDT
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PETAL, Miss. (WDAM) - One thing led to another another _ literally _ at the latest meeting of the Petal School District Board of Trustees meeting Thursday.

The board approved former Petal Middle School principal Tyler Watkins to the fill the vacant seat in the Petal High School principal’s office.

Watkins replaced Zach Bost, who was named superintendent of the Kosciusko School District.

To fill the instantly-created vacancy at Petal Middle School, the board looked inside and chose another homegrown candidate, Joel Bowman.

Bowman had served the past five years as assistant principal and assistant director of Career and Technical Education at Petal High School.

“We are very excited about Mr. Watkins and Dr. Bowman’s new roles at Petal High and Petal Middle,” said Matt Dillon, Petal School District superintendent.

“Based on their leadership experience, internal knowledge of our school district and existing relationships with district staff, I am confident that they will bring a new perspective to our schools while further enhancing the wonderful things already happening.”

Watkins, a 2006 Petal graduate, served as lead principal for three years, the last two at Petal Middle School.

An educator for 11 years, Watkins began his career as a history teacher at Laurel Junior High before returning to Petal as a physical education teacher at the primary school.

He then served as history teacher and baseball coach at Petal High for four years, where he also worked closely with the administration as part of the PHS Leadership Team.

Watkins received a bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, and a specialist degree in Instructional Leadership, both from William Carey University. He is currently working towards his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership.

“I am excited to continue building on the great work of the leaders before me at Petal High School,” said Watkins. “Being a graduate of Petal High, I’m excited to build on the relationships I made there as a student and a teacher while continuing our great partnership with the City of Petal.”

Watkins and his wife, Katie, a fifth-grade teacher at Petal Upper Elementary, have two children: a daughter, Lowe (six), who is in the first grade at Petal Primary School, and son Cohen (two).

Joe Bowman was named new Petal Middle School principal.
Joe Bowman was named new Petal Middle School principal.(Petal School District)

Bowman segued to the middle school after serving not only at the high school, but also as co-principal at the Petal Education Center and lead facilitator on the district’s modified calendar team.

A 13-year educator and three-time STAR teacher, Bowman (recently named “Top 20 Under 40″ by the Pine Belt News/Signature magazine) began his career as an Advanced Placement English teacher and varsity baseball coach at Stone County High School before moving to Petal.

He also taught adjunct English classes for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Bowman earned a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership, as well as a Doctor of Education degree from William Carey University.

“I’m looking forward to serving the teachers and staff at Petal Middle School,” said Bowman. “Their dedication to students has been evident by the quality young men and women they send to PHS each year.

“I’m also excited to get to know the students and parents. This community is very special, and I cannot wait to expand these bonds through my position at Petal Middle School.”

Bowman and his wife, Christy, senior manager of student involvement at The University of Southern Mississippi, have two sons: Wynn (three) and Will (four months).

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