mcj-2019-07-31-news-hatley-attendance-center-new-principals-keeton-edwards-wilbanks-williams

Kristy Keeton, left, will lead Hatley Attendance Center’s new team of administrators, including high school principal Jamie Edwards, junior high principal Jessie Wilbanks and elementary principal Dr. Kelly Williams.

Hatley Attendance Center welcomes its new crop of principals for the 2019-2020 school year.

Kristy Keeton has made the move from being principal at East Amory Elementary School to principal of Hatley Attendance Center following the retirement of Chris Kidd.

Keeton is a 1997 graduate of Hatley High School. Earning a bachelor’s degree from Blue Mountain College, she began her educational career as a social studies teacher at Nettleton Junior High, serving in that capacity for two years.

She took a year off from education in the area to become a teaching parent, along with her husband, Jason, at a boys’ home in Kearney, Nebraska. She moved back to Amory to continue her career in education as a middle school science and social studies teacher at Amory Middle School, where she taught for six years.

After earning her masters degree in educational leadership from Ole Miss, Keeton transitioned to become the assistant principal at East Amory Elementary School for four years. She subsequently became the school’s principal, a position she served in from 2015 to 2019. She was named as the Amory School District Administrator of the Year for the 2018-2019 school year.

Jamie Edwards, Hatley’s former junior high principal, moved up to high school principal.

Edwards is a 1999 Hatley graduate who has been in education for 16 years, with 13 of those years spent in the classroom teaching history and coaching baseball and football. He has been junior high principal for the last three years.

“I am very excited about this school year and getting a fresh start with the people I have come to appreciate and care about,” Edwards said. “I am looking forward to digging in and having a successful school year both in the classroom and on the field.”

Jessie Wilbanks is the new principal for the junior high school.

She is a native of Tishomingo and obtained both her bachelor’s and masters degrees from the University of Mississippi. She earned her specialist’s degree in educational leadership from Arkansas State University. Wilbanks began her career at Itawamba Attendance Center teaching English language arts, tutoring English and math and serving as the assistant junior high softball coach. She transitioned to Hatley in 2017, where she continued to teach English. She looks forward to working with teachers and students in the upcoming school year.

Dr. Kelly Williams has moved up to be principal at Hatley Elementary School.

Williams served for 14 years as a special needs teacher for students ranging from grades pre-kindergarten through 12. Prior to her appointment to the multiple disabilities self-contained class at Hatley in 2012, Williams taught in school districts in both Mississippi and Tennessee. Having worked in classrooms with general education teachers in all grades, she has had the opportunity to successfully co-teach general education students and provide inclusion services at every grade level.

“I am excited to be leading the phenomenal group of educators that Hatley Elementary possesses that I have grown to love,” Williams said. “My goal is to empower the teachers and staff to use their talents to reach every child in creative ways. I want my team to know that I trust their ability to maximize student growth and that I am here as a support to help them do just that.”

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