• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

McAllister leaving Southside Elementary after 6 years, Search begins for new principal


Southside Elementary School Principal Jason McAllister is leaving his post to become chief academic officer of Mercer County Schools. McAllister, who has been Southside’s principal for six years and a school principal for 14 years overall, said he’s excited about the opportunity to do more instructional work and having new challenges in education at Mercer County. He described this as the right opportunity and time to step into a central office role where he can help enact change and impact the education of students on a broader level. Reflecting on his tenure here, McAllister said, “Southside is a fantastic place. “… I feel like we’ve had a great time while we’ve been here – great people and great community. So I do feel very proud about our time here and the things that we’ve accomplished.” He pointed to Southside Elementary being twice recognized as a School of Distinction in the state assessment. Also, McAllister, 43, said he and his staff were able to successfully navigate the big changes that came with school redistricting. “Our school and community handled that so well and did that so well,” he said. “All of those things, I feel like, have been a great reflection of just how solid the school is.” Asked about his staff, McAllister said, “We have got some of the best educators in the state here. There’s no question. And they’re super-passionate about their school, about their kids. And the commitment level of the teachers here is just unparalleled. I’ve definitely been fortunate to work with those kinds of people.” He credited working at Southside and in Woodford County Public Schools for helping him learn and grow as a school leader, which prepared him for this next chapter in his career. Asked his advice to a new principal, he said, “Southside’s a special place. And you really have to tap into the strengths that this staff brings. … They all play such a vital role in our kids’ success. And I’ve never been in a place where the people bought into the work that their school does like the people here – and that’s from the front office staff to the custodians, to the kitchen (staff), everybody.” McAllister said he and his wife, Leah, will continue living in Versailles, with their son, Ethan. He will be a third-grader at Southside Elementary next school year. While it will be difficult not being in the same building as Ethan, McAllister said, “I’ve been here with him for a long time … He’s ready for that (change) as well.” Southside Elementary’s site-based decision-making council was scheduled to discuss the principal selection process at a special meeting last Monday, May 6.

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