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JCPS Announces Latest District Hires

JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City Public Schools today announced the latest hires for the district, including several roles at both the elementary and secondary education levels. 


Chad Sooter, Director of Health Services

A licensed RN, Chad brings a myriad of health care experience to JCPS. He will maintain a comprehensive district student health program, while developing positive relationships with administrators, staff and students through wellness programs. Chad comes to us from Capital Region Medical Center where he was the Recruiting Manager and Charge Nurse for the Emergency Room. Prior to that, he was the Pharmacy Purchasing Supervisor for CRMC.  


“In this role, Chad will lead our team of school nurses, as well as guide student and staff wellness,”  said Bridget Frank, Director of Special Services.  “We are excited for Chad to help facilitate student/staff health in our classrooms, nurses’ offices, and community. His leadership skills, broad nursing experiences, and positive attitude will be a strong asset to JCPS.” 


Stacy Armstrong, Administrative Intern, Lawson Elementary

Stacy Armstrong is a curriculum leader who has 13 years of experience in the classroom implementing engaging, technology-enhanced lessons, data-driven interventions/extensions and student development. She joins us from teaching various elementary grade levels with the Camdenton RIII School District and Lebanon R3 school districts.   


“Stacy is a great communicator and knows the importance of relationship building between students, staff and families, said Lorie Rost, Director of Elementary Education.  “She has a strong background in data teaming/data analysis, balanced literacy practices, and is looking forward to working collaboratively with the Lawson staff!” 


Jesse Oswald, Administrative Intern, Pioneer Trail Elementary

A student-success supporter, Jesse joins JCPS from the Boonville R-1 School District where he served as Assistant Principal. Prior to being an assistant principal, Jesse was a PE teacher and coached basketball, baseball, track and student council. He has obtained professional continuous career education certification in (PE) Health for grades K-12 and has also received provisional certification in the area of K-8 Educational Leadership. 


“Jesse is a firm believer that a school has to have a strong team focused on doing what is best for ALL kids,” added Rost. “He has a strong background with PBIS and will work with Principal Salmons to ensure a positive school culture and climate at Pioneer Trail. When needed during September and October, Jesse will also fill in as the administrative intern at West School.”


Teresa Tillinghast, Principal, South School

Formerly the administrative intern for JCPS at Pioneer Trail Elementary School since August 2017, Teresa (Terri) developed positive relationships with staff, students and families. She was entrusted with the key responsibilities of building leadership and successfully showcased her skills in instructional leadership, staff development, behavioral intervention, student supervision, and effective communication. 


“Terri is very enthusiastic, student-centered and so personable,” commented Rost. “She is excited about her new role as principal of South School and has years of educational experience as a former teacher at Lawson Elementary and assistant principal at Pioneer Trail. Her plans to focus on the communication between school, families, and the community will help continue the successes that South School has experienced the past couple of years with increased student achievement.”


Justin Browning, Principal, Jefferson City Academic Center (JCAC)

Justin has covered the grounds of education in Cuba, Washington, Linn and Columbia, Missouri, most recently as an Activities and Athletics Assistant Principal for Columbia Public Schools and Battle High School. He understands how to lead middle and high school students through systematic and cultural transitions. He also possesses the experience and skills of intervening to assist students in modifying behaviors to cultivate and exemplify successful interpersonal skills. A well-versed communicator, Justin has the ability to collaborate with all parties to solve problems in resolving conflicts.


“Justin brings to the district not only administrative experience, but experience working in alternative educational settings,” said Gary Verslues, Director of Secondary Education. “His passion to support and promote each student’s unique talents, along with his natural ability to quickly build positive relationships, will lend itself well in our mission to give every student gope for a better tomorrow.”  


Dominique Falls, Assistant Principal, Jefferson City High School

With experience both inside and outside of the classroom at Lange Middle School and Oakland Junior High School in Columbia since 2008, Dominique is sure to help motivate students at JCHS. The game of strategy is nothing new for Coach Falls, which also provides him the ability of being a gifted communicator. Falls will receive his Doctorate in Educational Leadership in December 2020.  


“Dominique has proven himself to be a leader and role model not only for students, but also for staff,” Verslues said. “Dominique brings a skill set that meets the needs of students both in and out of the classroom. His ability to build positive relationships with all stakeholders will be an asset in our journey to become a premier school district.”  


James Groves, Assistant Principal, Thomas Jefferson Middle School

James has been recognized as being the most influential teacher for instilling a love of reading in one of his former students. Along with being adept at relationship building, he has created engaging cross-curricular learning in self-contained learning activities tailored to the full range of learning styles. He joins us from Fairbanks North Star Borough School District in Fairbanks, Alaska where he served as Principal for Barnette Magnet School, grades K-8. Some of Groves’ classroom experience is with the East St. Louis District #189, where he taught English language arts to 2, 5, 6, 7 and 8th grade students. He anticipates completion of a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction degree in 2022.  


“James brings a wealth of knowledge with regard to curriculum and instruction, especially literacy and the embedding of literacy across all content areas,” added Verslues. “James has been a leader as a teacher and an administrator when it comes to enhancing the school environment and student performance in diverse cultural contexts.”