DENHAM SPRINGS – After spending half his life going to one location in Denham Springs, Kelly Jones will have to get used to a new route, in a new town, and for a new job.
The longtime principal at Denham Springs High School will be moving to the Central Office as the new supervisor of high school instruction, he said Thursday.
“It was a difficult decision,” Jones said in a telephone call from Fort Worth, Texas, where he is with his son, Carson, at a football camp at Texas Christian University.
Jones said his son participating in the camp was planned before he applied for the supervisor’s job or knew he would get it, so he won’t be at Thursday’s School Board meeting when his contract is approved by the board.
“I live for Denham Springs High School and my roots are there,” Jones said.
“The idea of applying for the job was appealing. The idea of working with all of the high schools and the high school principals made it attractive,” he said.
“My years as a student, my years as a teacher, and administrator, half of my life was at 1000 N. Range Avenue,” Jones said. “Twenty-two of my 44 years were there.”
“We have some great principals and people at the Central Office, and it will give me a chance to learn new things.
“I feel comfortable with where Denham Springs High School is,” Jones added.
“I’m happy for all that we’ve achieved. When you look back at the flood three years ago, I don’t feel I could have left any sooner.
“Everything is back in place. The school is on solid footing for the next principal,” he said.
The Great Flood of 2016 closed the campus that August and sent the students and staff to platoon with Live Oak High.
“The year after the flood was a challenge, but we made it back on campus by January,” Jones said.
It took some time for all of the repairs to be completed, but the school returned, Jones said, because of the efforts of teachers, administrators – and students – joined by School Board members and Central Office staff.
Jones acknowledged his new job will be a challenge.
“I’m proud of Livingston Parish as a whole and it is directly attributable to what Jody Purvis has done as the high school supervisor,” Jones said.
Expanding the number of Advanced Placement courses and students enrolled n them, raising test scores, helping students earn college credits and career certifications have fallen under the supervisor.
“And I hope to continue that,” Jones said.
Purvis’ job came open after he was promoted to assistant superintendent, to fill Joe Murphy’s post when he was named superintendent.