Murray is new principal

Kelly Murray

Kelly Murray will be the new principal at Pierce County High School.

The  hire came at a called meeting of the school board held Monday night. The decision came following a 31-minute closed session to discuss personnel. The meeting was held virtually via Youtube owing to the threat posed by COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The position came open last month after former principal Dara Bennett was hired as school superintendent. Bennett will succeed Dr. Kevin Smith, who is retiring. (See related story.)

Murray will be on a year-to-year contract and will receive an $18,000 supplement as the principal.

Murray, 42,  has been assistant principal at the high school since 2013. He previously served as Career, Technical and Agricultural Education (CTAE) director and alternative school principal for grades 6-12 for Charlton County Schools and an assistant principal at Charlton County High School.

He is a 1995 graduate of Ware County High School and graduated from Valdosta State University in 2003 with double bachelor’s degrees in business management and business education. He also completed his educational specialist degree at Valdosta State.

Murray has been in education for 17 years. He spent seven years in the classroom and has been in administration for the past decade.

He and his wife, Hannah,  live in Blackshear and have three daughters, Ava, Claire and Julianna. The family is active at First Baptist Church.

In other business during the called meeting, the school board:

• voted to hire Kimberly McCoy as a teacher at Blackshear Elementary, Darlene Hyers and Kolby Kicklighter as teachers at the middle school and Robert McCoy as band director at the high school. R. McCoy will succeed Bob Edwards, who is retiring.

• voted to release Dr. Kevin Smith from his contract effect at midnight May 29. (See related story.)

• approved coaching recommendations and supplements for the middle and high schools.