Payson School Staffing Changes Continue

Former vice principal, teachers leave amidst new round of shifts

Photo by Andy Towle. |

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During its last meeting, the Payson Unified School District board approved some last-minute staff changes that include a former administrator.

Yvette Harpe, former vice principal at Rim Country Middle School (RCMS) will move up into a principal position, but she had to leave Rim Country to do so.

“She has taken a job as a principal in Maricopa,” said school board member Jim Quinlan in an email.

In addition to her administrative work, Harpe had worked diligently for the FAN (Friends and Neighbors) club to raise money for PUSD sports programs.

Marlene Armstrong will replace Harpe’s vacant Education and Career Action Plan (ECAP) coordinator position, charged with helping other teachers boost student test scores.

Michael Ellis, formerly a Payson High School science teacher, will replace Armstrong as the engineering teacher at the high school.

Another big change: Quinlan’s wife Barbara, a longtime science teacher at RCMS, will now work at the Payson Education Center as its science teacher.

Quinlan said that was best because of his position on the school board.

Carmelita Locke, former school board candidate and retired PUSD teacher, will now teach science at RCMS.

Two Julia Randall Elementary teachers, Carolyn Crisp and Katy Goldman, also left the district.

It is not clear exactly why Crisp and Goldman left the district since PUSD staff who leave the district now fall under the heading “separations” on the school board agenda.

Superintendent Ron Hitchcock said the former labels such as resignation were too narrow. Just this year, he said the district had people “separate” from PUSD because of death, failure to accept an offer or sign a contract, retirement, resignation, termination by a third party (ordered withdrawal of certification) in addition to other reasons.

Payson High School will have two new teachers, Sergio Beraun as the music teacher, and David Gerber as an English teacher.

Beraun will take Daria Mason’s place. She has moved to RCMS full-time to teach computers and the career class.

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