Troy Barrow was named board chairman by a unanimous vote at the Tuesday meeting of the Paris Special School District board.

He replaces longtime chairman Richard Edwards, who remains on the board as a member. Barrow will take over in June.

That will end a 20-year stint as chairman for Edwards, who joined the board in 1991 and became chairman in 2000.

Bill Jelks remains as vice chairman and Amy Cathey remains secretary.

The board also awarded tenure to seven employees.

Those teachers are Kristin Nickell, an ESL (English as a second language) teacher who works at all schools; Ginger Oliver, a speech language pathologist at Rhea Elementary School; Holly Peale, a second-grade teacher at Rhea who is moving to Inman Middle School for special education inclusion; Melissa Ridgeway, a counselor at Paris Elementary School; Donna Thompson, a fifth-grade math teacher at PES; Shanna Watkins, a sixth-grade English and language arts teacher at IMS; and Jordan Williams, a Rhea kindergarten teacher.

The board voted unanimously to approve the hiring of a new, full-time, pre-K special education teacher.

The teacher is necessary because of new IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) policies. These policies dictate that each special ed student in preschool must have a “typical peer,” or a general education student of the same age.

This makes pre-K class sizes larger, creating a need for a new teacher.

Supt. Norma Gerrell said the PSSD is not the only school system in the area making changes because of the new policy. Title I and grant funding is available to hire the new educator.

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