Posted Date: 05/10/2023
May 10, 2023
Vian Public Schools
VIAN HIGH SCHOOL HIRES NEW PRINCIPAL
Late Monday evening, the Vian School Board approved the hiring of Carrie Jo Willis as high school principal. Ms. Willis will officially take over as VHS principal on July 1st, when current principal John Brockman assumes his new role as Superintendent of Schools.
Ms. Willis has been Middle School Principal in the Fort Gibson school system for the past 5
years, after spending the prior 5 years as an assistant principal and high school counselor there. Her 25 years of education experience include 15 years in the classroom, primarily teaching upper-level math classes at the high school level. Willis has state and national teaching certifications in 12 fields, including algebra, computer science, trigonometry, statistics, chemistry, counseling, and administration. She has a Master’s degree in counseling from the University of Oklahoma, and a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics education from Northeastern State.
Brockman says he’s excited to work with her: “Her resume was hard to beat. And her mindset on curriculum, discipline, and leadership will be a great fit and a great asset for Vian.”
“The whole Board was impressed with her experience and credentials, said School Board President Ken Pack, “and when we met Ms. Willis, we all felt she was exactly what we were hoping for.”
The School had seven applicants for the position, most of whom had experience at the principal level or above. John Brockman, already starting in his new role as incoming Superintendent, led the search effort to find his own replacement. Brockman met with candidates individually and chose two finalists to meet the Board. At the end of the evening, Brockman and outgoing Superintendent Victor Salcedo jointly recommended hiring Ms. Willis. The Board wholeheartedly agreed. Board Member Jeff Cotner made the motion and the Board voted unanimously.
“I think people should be excited,”Cotner said afterward. “We couldn’t have been happier with the process or with the result. John led the selection process perfectly, the Board was in complete agreement with him, and we are really pleased to have Ms. Willis joining us in Vian.”
Willis says she is eager to make an impact in the high school, but emphasized that she first wanted input from VHS teachers and administrators, and wanted to work toward a committed team effort with full “buy-in” from the existing staff.
Earlier in the evening, each of Vian’s school principals reviewed their State Report Card results in detail with the Board. Major topics included disciplinary policy, curriculum alignment and test scores, career and college readiness, and attendance. The principals committed to more-frequent reporting and discussion with the board about standardized and benchmark test results.
The Board also voted Monday to hire Bryce Brown as a middle school math teacher and wrestling coach, and Amanda (Johnson) Risley to teach second grade. Risley is returning to the Vian school system replacing Marla Sanford, who retired this spring. Brown is a grandson of former VHS principal Bill Brown. Brown was once a distinguished high school wrestler, and has a degree in accounting.
Willis’ arrival will give Vian an all-female principals group, including Middle School Principal Marilyn Oliver, Elementary Principal Kathy Wingo and Elementary Assistant Principal Jennifer Ecker. All the principals were on hand for the hiring decision, along with the full Board including Pack, Cotner, James Thornton, Joe Paul Simon, and John Ford.
Willis is married to Gary Willis, head football coach at Vian since 2016. Their son Garrett also teaches and coaches at Vian. Their daughter Courtney is a Doctor of Optometry, currently practicing with the Cherokee Nation health services; daughter Carson is a student at Oklahoma State.
Among Willis’ duties for 2023-24 will be planning for Vian High’s move to a brand new $9 million high school building, which is scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2024.
John Brockman 918.773.5475
Erica King: 918.773.5475