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Collierville school district names new principals

By Trena Packer Street
Collierville Schools Superintendent John Aitken has announced that Chip Blanchard has been named Principal of Collierville High School and Melissa McConnell has been selected as Collierville Elementary School Principal.
“Each of these webpeople brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and we are pleased to have them join our Collierville Schools system,” Aitken said.
Chip Blanchard, 35, currently principal at Collierville Middle School, has been with Shelby County School system for 10 years, working in various positions. He has served as classroom teacher, Curriculum Technology Trainer, Assistant Principal at Bolton High School, Vice Principal at Bartlett High School, and for the past year has served as Principal at Collierville Middle School.
“I am passionate about education and desire to build meaningful relationship with students, parents, teachers, and all members of the community,” he said.
He received a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University, with an undergraduate degree from Mississippi College. Soon he will begin studies toward with Lamar University Doctoral of Educational Leadership Program with an emphasis in Technology.
Blanchard and wife, Jana Jonakin Blanchard, are parents to Belle Anna, 6, and Tripp, 3, who attend Tara Oaks Elementary School in Collierville. Recently, the family relocated to Collierville and “are thrilled to be living, serving, and playing in such a magnificent community.”
Free time activities include spending time with family, reading a good book on the beach, and renovating their new home.
At the close of this school year, Blanchard will begin working with teachers and staff at Collierville High School to maintain good continuity for the anticipated 2,000-plus students, 99 teachers and five administrators, as they become a part of the new Collierville Schools system.
Melissa McConnell, 39, the new Collierville Schools Principal for Collierville Elementary School, has worked in Shelby County Schools for more than a decade. She has served as a special educator, high school English Teacher, Special Education Consulting Teacher and Special Education Supervisor. Most recently, she has served as Director of Support and Professional Development with a focus on teacher support. A native of southern Louisiana, McConnell moved to Memphis in 1991 to attend Rhodes College. She earned a Bachelor of Arts from Rhodes and then took a job in business and restaurant management in Austin, Texas. In 2002, she returned to Memphis for a Master of Arts in Special Education at the University of Memphis. In 2007, she earned an administrative license from Christian Brothers University.
Melissa and her husband Rob are the proud parents of a 20-month old daughter, Alice, “who keeps them entertained and on their toes, as all good toddlers do.” In accepting the role as Principal for Collierville Elementary School, she said, “I am humbled and honored to join the CES family and be part of the new Collierville Schools System. I look forward to serving the students, parents, teachers and staff at CES by continuing to build on the good work happening in every classroom.”
The first day of classes for the new system is set for August 4, 2014. Currently, Collierville Elementary has an estimated 770-plus students, 53 teachers and three administrators.
Speaking on behalf of the Collierville School Board, Mark Hansen, Chairman said, “As we go through the process of establishing Collierville Schools, we have the utmost confidence that Superintendent Aitken and the staff have given thorough consideration to each candidate and have selected the best for our schools.”
Open positions within the Collierville Schools system are posted on Applications will be taken only if there is a posted position and the application is received within the posted period. Unsolicited resumes that do not accompany the official application will not be considered for employment nor be retained.
Members of the Collierville Schools Board are Chairman Mark Hansen, Wanda Chism, Wright Cox, Cathy Messerly, and Kevin Vaughan. The Board meets the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, 6 p.m. in Town Hall Board Chambers. All meetings are open to the public. Agenda and minutes and other details are posted at
For additional information, please contact your local school or Collierville Schools at

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