Montgomery County News, Arkansas -

Mount Ida chooses new high school principal

MOUNT IDA – School Board members voted to hire Mike Nichols to be the new high school principal at Mount Ida. The board also voted to expel a student for violation of the district’s policy against the use of marijuana on campus.
The order of business was turned around a bit to allow Board President Chad Summitt to be in attendance for the personnel decisions and the expulsion hearing.
The board opened the meeting and immediately entered into executive session. A short while later they re-convened the regular session. The first order of business was to hire Mike Nichols as the new high school principal. The position was vacant due to the retirement of Ron Maguire last month.
Nichols comes to Mount Ida from Paris School District where he has served as Middle School and High School Principal. He currently serves as the school’s Middle School Principal after working in the high school from 2017-2022.
Nichols brings 15 years of experience in administration with stops in Booneville, Newport, and Union Christian Academy.
He started his career in education as a coach and teacher at River Valley Christian School in Fort Smith in 1998. He was a teacher at Mansfield from 1999-2001 before moving back to River Valley Christian School to serve as the school’s head basketball coach and math teacher. He moved to Lavaca in 2005 where he taught math and social studies. He was also an assistant basketball and volleyball coach. Nichols served as Dean of Students at Lavaca as well.
Nichols earned a bachelor of science in elementary education from Arkansas Tech University in 1995. He earned a Master of educational administration degree in 2008 and an education specialist degree in 2014. All degrees were earned at Arkansas Tech University.
Three teachers were reassigned to fill vacant positions.
An open expulsion hearing was held for Student #20285506. Superintendent Tristan Knoedl stated that the meeting would be open to the public because the parents did not request a closed meeting. He reported that cafeteria employees reported the smell of marijuana coming from the restroom. After an investigation was conducted Student #20285506 was found to have been in possession of marijuana on school property. She was suspended for 10 days and an expulsion hearing was scheduled per school policy.
Superintendent Knoedl recommended that the student be expelled for the remainder of the school year and placed in the probationary attendance program. He explained that the program allows the expelled student to attend school while being sequestered from other students. This program is available to non-violent offenders. The board approved his recommendation by unanimous vote.
In other business:
The board approved the minutes from the January meeting followed by the January financial report.
The board reviewed the principal reports
The board approved the legal liability insurance policy for the 2023-24 school year at a cost of $6,936.
The board approved a student transfer into the district.
The board approved the special education statement of intent and assurances for the 2023-24 school year.

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