Changes made after leader’s resignation

By Tammy Keith Originally Published May 9, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated May 8, 2013 at 9:25 a.m.
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Nick Hillemann

Damon Teas is the new K-12 principal for the Guy-Perkins School District. He was promoted from the assistant-principal position. Karen Hoskins, assistant principal in the Mayflower School District, will take over Teas’ former position in July. Brian Cossey, interim superintendent and former K-12 principal, will take over as superintendent in July, following the resignation of David Westenhover.

Damon Teas will be happy when July comes and the Guy-Perkins School District administration is fully staffed.

“We’ve been shorthanded this semester. Everybody’s chipped in,” said Teas, K-12 principal.

Here’s the scorecard:

Teas, who was the K-12 assistant principal for the 415-student district, was hired in March as K-12 principal.

He replaced Brian Cossey, who will take over as superintendent in July. Cossey was appointed to replace Superintendent David Westenhover, who resigned, effective June 30.

When Westenhover left, Cossey took over as interim superintendent; Teas stepped up to be interim principal.

“I’m in charge of all buildings,” Teas said. “When it was Brian and me, we could kind of divide and conquer. Right now, there’s no divide and conquer.”

Teas, 36, will have some help come July.

Karen Hoskins, assistant principal of Mayflower High School, was hired for the assistant principal’s job.

“We’re very excited to have her,” said Teas, a graduate of Mayflower High School. “She’s got over 20 years in. With her experience and her knowledge, we feel like she’s going to be a great asset to our school, for sure.”

For now, Teas is “juggling,” he said.

“It’s been a trying time. What we do early in the year with three people, we had to do with two,” he said.

Westenhover resigned after being arrested and charged in January with two felonies and a misdemeanor, including at least one charge that involved stolen guns. However, the charges were dismissed in April in Faulkner County Circuit Court for “insufficient evidence to proceed,” according to an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article.

Cossey said Westenhover, who lived on campus, has moved.

To compound Teas’ tight schedule, he was head boys basketball coach in January, when the situation erupted, as well as assistant principal.

“I still had 15 games to go,” he said.

Having an interim basketball coach was discussed, but Teas said it was too late in the year.

“It was seven through 12 boys, too. But that’s what you do in a small school; you wear a lot of hats,” he said.

And Teas has definitely worn his share.

“I’ve done a lot,” he said.

Teas graduated from Mayflower High School in 1994 and the University of Central Arkansas in 2000 with a degree in kinesiology.

His first job was at Central Baptist College in Conway, where he coached volleyball, baseball and women’s basketball.

He spent two years as a part-time assistant coach from 1998-2000, then was full time until 2002.

“I left there to pursue my master’s in school leadership at UCA,” he said.

He spent a year at McRae, which has since consolidated with the Beebe School District, as athletic director and coach of boys basketball and girls fast-pitch softball.

He left to join the faculty at Episcopal Collegiate School in Little Rock, where he worked for three years.

“I had a good run there,” he said.

At the private high school, he was assistant football coach, head track coach and head boys basketball coach.

At CBC, a private college, and Episcopal Collegiate, he wasn’t part of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement system, he said.

“That’s why I left,” he said. “I went back to public school because I could retire one day.”

Teas went to Ola High School as head girls basketball and head girls track coach.

He spent three years there and left when the school consolidated with Plainview and became Two Rivers High School.

Teas landed in the Guy-Perkins School District in 2009 as a baseball coach, and in 2011, he was hired as assistant principal.

“I was doing junior boys basketball back then, as well,” he said.

“It’s a long road,” Teas said of his journey to K-12 principal.

He said his goals are “to continue to have academic success here at the school; continue to raise test scores; continue to provide a safe place to go to school.”

“The last thing we want is for kids not to feel like they’re safe,” he said. “Being a small school, we really strive to provide a family atmosphere, something you don’t have at a big school.”

He is married to Mollie Teas, a psychological examiner in the Conway School District. They will celebrate their 10-year wedding anniversary this month, he said.

They have two children, Hugh, 6, who is in kindergarten at Guy-Perkins Elementary School, and Isaac, 20 months.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

Niche Publications Senior Writer Tammy Keith can be reached at 501-327-0370 or tkeith@arkansasonline.com.

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