Helena schools have new administrators approved

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – Two new administrators were approved for schools in the city of Helena during a virtual meeting of the Shelby County Board of Education on Thursday, May 28.

Mary Anderson was approved to become the new principal of Helena Elementary School, replacing previous principal Jeff Norris, while Kara Burleson will be the new system assistant principal and has been assigned to Helena Intermediate School for the coming 2020-2021 school year.

Anderson was a qualified candidate for the job she will be taking over with more than 16 years of public education experience she has had a wealth of time and knowledge to prepare her for this position.

“I am excited to be named the new principal of Helena Elementary School, and I look forward to starting work on July 1,” she said. “I have heard about and seen so many great things taking place at Helena Elementary and in the Helena community during the past six years that I have lived in Shelby County.”

Prior to taking this job, Anderson was the assistant principal at Chelsea Park Elementary School, and before that she served as principal in the Cleveland School District in Mississippi.

She received her education at Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi where she received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership.

Now she’s excited for her new job in Helena.

“I can’t wait to get involved in the community, so I can meet more people and learn even more about our school and the community,” Anderson said. “I am most excited about seeing the sweet faces of the children when school starts back because I have always had a special love for children, but especially early childhood. Becoming a principal of a school with only grades kindergarten through second grade is like a dream come true for me.”

Anderson is also itching to for the opportunity to welcome kids back to school after the odd ending to the 2019-2020 school year, and wants the parents and children to know she will be there for them.

“I have a passion for education and helping others become successful,” she said. “I look forward to working with all of the teachers, staff, parents, students and community stakeholders at Helena Elementary to ensure a successful and exciting school year. Please feel free to reach out to me if you ever have any questions, concerns, or suggestions. Hopefully, I will be able to meet you all soon with safe social distancing in place.”

Burleson too has an extensive career with more than 16 years of education experience, and also has experience in this school system.

She has served as the assistant principal at Helena Elementary School since she was approved for the position in late 2013. Prior to this, she was a teacher at Valley Intermediate School in Pelham.

Burleson attended Auburn University where she received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She then attended the University of Montevallo where she earned a master’s degree in elementary education and instructional leadership.

Since they have been approved, Anderson and Burleson will assume their new positions leading up to the start of the 2020-2021 school year.