The Elba City Schools Board of Education accepted the resignation of Elba Elementary School Principal Debra Johnson Strickland, who was arrested on June 5 following a hit-and-run incident.
Strickland was placed on administrative leave after the news of her arrest was released. She had been employed with the school system since 2007.
The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency reported that Strickland, 38, of Samson, was driving a 2017 Nissan Maxima on Alabama 87 at around 4:35 p.m. The Maxima was traveling north when Strickland crossed the centerline into the southbound lane.
The 2019 Subaru Outback driven by Wendy M. Smith, 43, of Owensboro, Kentucky swerved into the northbound lane to avoid colliding with the Maxima. Strickland then swerved back into the northbound lane and struck the Subaru approximately 12 miles south of Enterprise city limits.
Investigators reported Strickland then fled the crash scene on foot and was later apprehended approximately one mile from the crash scene. She was charged with fleeing the scene of an accident with injury, according to Geneva County Sheriff Tony Helms.
Kenya Martin, the school’s counselor, was appointed as interim principal, and Superintendent Chris Moseley thanked her for the effort she’s put into the role over the last week.
“I want to thank her for everything that she’s done for us in the past week,” Moseley said. “I’ve overloaded her. I’ve tried not to, but I just appreciate everything she’s done for Elba City Schools.”
In addition to accepting the resignation, the main topic of discussion for the special called meeting held Thursday night was personnel changes.
One hire the board approved was for Melissa Johnson, a Spanish and English language teacher for Elba High School. Moseley said that the school has not had a Spanish teacher and that for several years, students who wanted to take Spanish classes had to do so online. Johnson will also work with EL students at the elementary school.
“We currently do not have someone working with that, and we’ve really worked for two years to try to get that,” Moseley said. “We had a contract person about three years ago, but those students are not getting the services they need. So we really think this is a great partnership in the things she can do in teaching the classes and working with our EL students.”
The board also approved the following personnel changes:
Caiden Harrell, physical education teacher, Elba High School
Abbey Bedsole, teacher, Elba Elementary School
Sara Kate Jones, teacher, Elba Elementary School
Melissa Mularz, physical education teacher, Elba High School