New leader at Jacksonville High

Dr. Chad Kelly (right), Jacksonville ISD superintendent, welcomes newly named Jacksonville High School Principal Ben Peacock aboard.

School board trustees have selected Ben Peacock as Jacksonville High School's new principal, succeeding Karen Kubara, who announced her retirement in March.

“I'm really looking forward to the chance to continue to get to know our parents and our community members, and I'm committed to making JHS the best high school in East Texas,” Peacock said. “We have some of the best kids that I've ever been around – our students are absolutely phenomenal. Our teachers are dedicated, committed and bright, and our administrative team is second to none.”

The announcement was made during Monday's school board meeting.

“I am excited to have Ben on board, and I look forward to working with him in his new role for many years to come," said Dr. Chad Kelly, JISD superintendent.

Peacock, a 2000 JHS graduate who is in his fifth year as an assistant principal at the local high school, began his career as a middle and high school English teacher before being named coordinator of student activities and a school leadership team representative for The In-Tech Academy in Bronx, New York.

Upon his return to Jacksonville in 2010, he taught AP language and composition classes at Jacksonville High School, and was named Secondary Teacher of the Year in 2012.

Peacock is a 2004 graduate of Texas A&M University, holds a Master of Science in education from Pace University in New York, NY, and has obtained a principal’s certification from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. He is currently pursuing an doctorate in educational leadership from The University of Texas at Austin with an anticipated May 2020 graduation date.

Jacksonville High School has an enrollment of approximately 1,200 students in grades 9 through 12, and a staff of approximately 100 to 120 people, he said.

He is excited to serve as principal at his alma mater, and said he feels “there's an added level of care and an added level of stakes that are higher because I want to do well,” he said. “I'm really excited about getting a chance to serve – I want to serve our students, our teachers, our parents and our community. I don't have all the answers, but I want to listen, to learn, to serve people of our town.”

The Jacksonville school district has “a really strong leadership, and I feel honored to take my place among them, to be part of a group of people who have such commitment to the kids of our district,” he said.

Peacock will assume his new administrative role on July 1.

Also during the meeting, school board trustees swore in newly elected board members after canvassing votes from a May 4 election. Incumbent Jeff Horton was elected to the Place 1 seat, while Matthew Leinback was elected to the Place 2 seat.

The board also named its officers during the meeting, voting to retain Horton as board president, Randy McCown as vice president and Micah Hoffpauir as secretary.

They also:

• Approved a contract with Austin Bank for the depository of JISD funds for the 2019-2021 biennium;

• Engaged the firm of Robinson & Payne as external auditors for the 2018-2019 JISD financial audit;

• Approved the revised 2018-19 JISD salary supplements and extra duty pay;

• Approved the replacement of seating at the Jacksonville High School auditorium, with a $140,000 cap to remove old seating and install approximately 789 new seats.

• Approved low-attendance day waivers;

• Approved a memorandum of understanding for the dual credit program and college preparatory mathematics and English Language Arts courses between Jacksonville ISD and Tyler Junior College; and

• Approved a consent agenda that includes the April 15 regular board meeting minutes and amended minutes from the March 25 regular board meeting; as well as donations of $1,000 or more. These include replacement parts for audio visual systems at East Side Elementary and Joe Wright Elementary, in the amount of $10,000 from Randy Stuart, executive director of Technology; donation to Tomato Bowl Grand Opening in the amount of $10,000 from the City of Jacksonville; donation of a Indian sculpture at the Tomato Bowl, in the amount of $2,500, from Mr. and Mrs. Berry Autry.

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