Education

Swansea school district has one fewer principal thanks to mine subsidence issue

40 percent of Wolf Branch school to be demolished

Wolf Branch superintendent Scott Harres updates the status of the middle school damaged by mine subsidence.
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Wolf Branch superintendent Scott Harres updates the status of the middle school damaged by mine subsidence.

Because it could take years to repair and reopen the Swansea school that was damaged by mine subsidence, the district is starting this academic year with one fewer principal.

Wolf Branch Middle School was evacuated in the second month of the 2017-18 school year, when students, teachers and staff all moved into the nearby elementary school.

Students returned to classes Thursday, and Jennifer Poirot, the former middle school principal, began her new role as principal for the entire district.

Stacey Sommerfield also started working as assistant principal, a new position in Wolf Branch School District 113.

The administrative changes will save the district an estimated $18,000, according to District 113 Superintendent Scott Harres. It also makes the administrators’ duties clearer.

Harres said having two principals in one building was causing confusion about whom students, parents and staff should go to for help.

Wolf Branch District 113 Superintendent Scott Harres says he hopes the damage at Wolf Branch Middle School caused by mine subsidence can be repaired so students can move back in eventually. Starting Monday, Sept. 18, the entire district will be ho

The former elementary school principal, Madonna Harris, resigned at the end of the last school year after three years in the district, according to Harres. She took a job as assistant principal at Collinsville Middle School.

Harres said Poirot has worked in the district for 21 years. She started as a fifth-grade teacher. Then, she moved on to dean of students before becoming principal.

Sommerfield is new to the district. She used to work as a fifth-grade teacher at Penniman School in Cahokia District 187, according to the St. Clair County Regional Office of Education’s directory.

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