Rutherford adds more admin staff after traumatic events

Bay County

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — After Hurricane Michael heavily damaged most Bay County schools, educators had to make some tough choices, especially for Rutherford.

One of those choices was to close the Everett Middle School campus and move their students to Rutherford High School.

District leaders have now appointed a principal to oversee the middle school to address some of the issues that have surfaced over the last three years.

“I’ll be the principal of sixth, seventh and eighth grade at Rutherford,” new middle school principal Crystal Boyette said.

Rutherford’s current principal, Coy Pilson, said he asked the school district for support many times. This opportunity has brought out his excitement for the future of student Rams.

“As the principal of the high school, I have a feeling that my phone calls will go down because all phone calls dealing with the middle school will go to the acting middle school principal,” Pilson said.

He said combining these two groups of students has not been easy.

First, there was hurricane recovery, then the pandemic. A few weeks ago, authorities arrested 16 students in connection with a school riot.

Boyette acknowledges high school is an entirely different environment compared to middle school.

“We know that students at certain ages need those boundaries and structures, and we are going to provide that,” Boyette said. “There will also be a lot of incentives and rewards in place for students, which we all love.”

There will also be additional safety measures added to the campus. Including cameras and fencing.

“Providing doors that won’t allow for certain students in and out at certain areas,” she said.

Not only will this allow for middle schoolers to act more like middle schoolers, it will also add structure within their walls.

It also allows Pilson to focus on high school classes while Boyette focuses on the younger students.

Pilson said middle schoolers will eventually move back to Everett, but there is currently no timetable.

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