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Southside’s Taylor to Marengo County Schools

DEMOPOLIS — Luke Taylor III, the former principal at Southside High School in Selma, will take the helm at John Essex School this year.

Taylor served two years as principal of Southside. Before coming to Selma, he served one year as the principal of Wilcox County Alternative School in Camden.

Taylor received a bachelor of science degree in language arts education from Alabama State University in 1997 and received a master of science degree in school counseling from ASU in 2001.

He taught for seven years at Mae Eanes Middle School in Mobile, then became a teacher at Mobile County Training Middle School. He then became a counselor at Foley Elementary School and Escambia County Middle School in Atmore before taking the position in Camden.

Taylor is a native of Mobile who succeeds Loretta McCoy, who was released by the school in accordance with a $4-million improvement grant the school received last month.

“This is going to be a really intense transformation model that we are putting in place,” said Marengo County Schools superintendent Luke Hallmark after the grant was announced. “Part of the grant is that we will be bringing in a new principal, and we’ll be looking for a transformation specialist. We’ll be looking for a technology coach. We’ll be putting in a lot of equipment. Our teachers will be issued laptops, and there will be a lot of professional training.

“We’re going to extend the school day. We’re going to start at 7:30 and go to 3:30. We have some supplements in place for academic achievement.”

“The whole premise of the grant is that it is a total school transformation,” said Jana Hoggle, the director of federal programs and technology for Marengo County Schools, after the announcement.

“What that means is that it will become a technological showcase as far as the technology they will have in the schools: SmartBoards, projectors, InterWrite pads, netBooks for all of the students. But then, it will be structurally transformational as well. Basically, they are going to change the way they teach.”

Taylor is expected to begin his duties at John Essex on July 1.