Seven leadership positions filled at Battle High School

Friday, January 20, 2012 | 3:58 p.m. CST; updated 2:47 p.m. CST, Saturday, January 21, 2012

*CLARIFICATION: Justin Conyers was an assistant football coach at Rock Bridge High School. An earlier version of the article implied that he held a different position.

COLUMBIA — Columbia Public School District announced Friday the names of seven educators who will join Principal Kim Presko at Battle High School when it opens in 2013.

They include Hickman High School's Assistant Principal Andrew McCarthy and Counselor Leigh Spence, as well as Rock Bridge High School's assistant* football coach, Justin Conyers, and associate director of bands, Robert Thalhuber.

"We wanted individuals who would provide strong leadership and aid in community development for the school as the culture, building environment and student population are being identified," Superintendent Chris Belcher said in a news release.

At Battle, McCarthy, who has worked with the district since 2005, will reprise his role as assistant principal. Thalhuber and Conyers will also reprise their roles as band director and football coach, respectively. Thalhuber has worked with the district since 2006 and Conyers has as well for eight years.

Spence, who has worked in the district since 1995, will be the guidance director.

Jazz Rucker, a vocal music educator at Lange Middle School who joined the district in 2011, will be Battle’s choral director.

Battle’s media specialist will be Jayme Pingrey, who is currently the media specialist at Oakland Junior High School. Pingrey has been with the district since 2005.

Presko, who was named Battle principal in November 2011, has been with Columbia Public Schools since 1990 when she was hired as a math teacher at West Junior High School. She has been principal at Oakland Junior High since 2000.

All seven leaders have received degrees from either MU or Stephens College.

“We are thrilled to have a very talented group of student-centered educators to begin the traditions of excellence at Battle High School,” Presko said in a statement.

The district plans to announce the high school's athletic director and the boys and girls head basketball coaches soon.

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