Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

July 23, 2013

Greenup gets 2 new principals

Ailster, Collier taking helms at grade schools

LLOYD — Two elementaries in the Greenup County School District have new principals, and both say they want to improve lagging test scores and open up communication with parents.

Former Greenup County High School athletic director Chris Ailster takes over at Wurtland Elementary while Aaron Collier, most recently director of alternative education at the high school, takes the reins at McKell Elementary.

Wurtland’s most recently released test scores in reading and math were alarmingly low, according to Ailster, who said he already is talking to teachers about coaxing scores up. Currently in the ninth percentile, Wurtland desperately needs big gains and Ailster, 42, said he will make that a priority.

McKell has a similar issue with reading and math, but perhaps most pressing is the gap in scores between the student population as a whole and children in certain subgroups, particularly low-income students, Collier said.

In other words, students in those groups show significantly lower scores in all testing areas.

Collier, 45, said a new state testing system accounts for some of the low scores, but it is up to him and McKell teachers to align the curriculum to new state standards and bring up scores.

Ailster plans to pursue professional development opportunities for his teachers, who he said are energetic and dedicated. “The teachers I’ve met are passionate about what they do. They’ve been coming in here all summer long. The will and the interest is there.”

Down the road he hopes to add an additional teacher for response to intervention, which is a process of providing prompt additional instruction to students who are struggling. The additional teacher could provide more individual instruction, Ailster said.

Both principals come to the job after working mostly with older students.

Ailster, a Greenup County native and 1988 GCHS graduate, taught science for 13 years at McKell Middle School and then spent three years at the high school as athletic director. Another three years teaching at McKell Middle followed that.

Collier taught special education for a year at McKell Middle and then for four years at the high school. He was assistant principal there for seven years, and when the school developed a new alternative program, he was appointed its director.

Shifting to the elementary level requires learning a different approach to students, according to Collier. “The maturity level is different and you have a different way of interacting with kids,” he said.

He already has met with a number of parents. Their top concern appears to be an insistence on being involved in school affairs. “They want to be involved and they want us to communicate with them. I’ll use that as a springboard for changes in our school improvement plan,” he said.

Both men live in South Shore. Collier said that’s one reason he wanted the McKell job.

Ailster, who is African-American, said Wurtland is his school of preference because many of the district’s African-American children go there and need positive role models. “It’s important that kids see someone that looks like me so they can see they can be anything they want to be,” he said.

Both principals have children in the district; Collier has a son and a daughter who will enter ninth and 11th grades respectively; Ailster’s two sons will be in seventh and ninth grades.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Jesse Stuart Foundation celebrates 35 years

    The annual Jesse Stuart Foundation Open House from noon to 6 p.m. on Aug. 8 will be a huge celebration.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0729hagerman.jpg Hagerman talks law with Rotary

    At Monday’s lunchtime meeting of the Ashland Rotary Club, Boyd County Circuit Court Judge C. David Hagerman summed up current local legal trends — and how cases, courts and criminals have changed during his 20-plus year tenure.
     

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue speaks during an interview in Salt Lake City

    Fish and houseguests both stink after three days — and much less time when a visitor pockets valuables without permission.
     

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Iconic Gate City bank torn down after partial collapse

    This weekend, Catlettsburg’s downtown silhouette lost one of its longest-lived landmarks.
    Demolition workers began to tear down one of the Gate City’s oldest downtown buildings following the former Catlettsburg National Bank’s partial collapse.

    July 28, 2014 2 Photos

  • Study shows room for parking improvement

    It has been suggested that the parking layout along Winchester Avenue should change, bringing the city’s main thoroughfare down to two lanes.

    July 28, 2014

  • Anti-smoking tour kicks off in Ashland

    A scan in 2009 that was supposed to show doctors what was causing Deborah Cline’s eye problems by chance revealed the cancer in her lung.
    Two years later, Roger Cline watched his wife die of lung cancer. Deborah Cline was 59 and had never smoked.

    July 28, 2014

  • 0728bank5.jpg Gate City landmark demolished

    The historic Catlettsburg National Bank Building was being taken down after the front dormer window collapsed on Sunday.

    July 28, 2014 4 Photos

  • Local counties see drop in unemployment

    Boyd County was one of 117 counties that saw a decrease in its unemployment rate between June 2013 and June 2014.
     

    July 27, 2014

  • 0726bigboy.JPG Big Boy to open Aug. 11

    The long-awaited Frisch’s Big Boy restaurant will open Aug. 11, and when it does it will be business as usual from day one: the eatery will open its doors to the early breakfast crowd at 6:30.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • SOAR meeting at MSU Aug. 6

    Morehead State University and St. Claire Regional Medical Center will present Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers as part of a "Health Impact Series" under the new Shaping Our Appalachian Region initiative.
     

    July 27, 2014

Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP basketball
SEC Zone