Derek Smith hired to serve as new Jackson Heights administrator
An administrative contract for a Royal Valley High School science teacher was approved by the Jackson Heights USD 335 Board of Education during a special meeting on Monday, it was reported.
Derek Smith was hired as an administrator at Jackson Heights Middle and High School, starting with the 2022-23 school year, following 50 minutes of executive sessions during the meeting, according to school officials.
Smith has been teaching science classes at RVHS for the past two years, it was reported. Prior to that, he taught science at Valley Falls and served in the U.S. Air Force for 12 years.
Smith’s contract to replace Darren Shupe was approved on a 7-0 board vote, according to school officials. Shupe had been placed on administrative leave earlier this year after an incident at the school that was reported to involve an assault allegedly committed by four middle school students against another middle school student.
No action on Shupe’s administrative contract was confirmed at Monday’s meeting. District Superintendent Jim Howard reported this morning that the district was still looking to finalize Shupe’s exit from the district.
“The intent was to have a resolution on both,” Howard said of both Smith’s and Shupe’s contracts. “We came to a verbal agreement. We’re just waiting on the final legal documentation on Mr. Shupe. So it’s basically all over but the shouting.”
Smith is one of two new administrators hired in the district in recent days. Daniel Pray’s hiring as the new elementary principal at Jackson Heights was approved by the board at its Monday, April 11 meeting; he will replace Chris Appuhn, who is leaving the district at the end of the current school year.
An administrative contract for Smith was included as part of the Jackson Heights board’s April 11 meeting, but no action was taken at that time. The contract as approved on Monday specified a starting salary of $75,000 for Smith, according to school officials.
Other action at Monday’s special meeting included approval of supplementary duties for Brandi Fritz as high school cheer sponsor for the 2022-23 school year. Fritz had served as the middle school cheer sponsor for 10 years prior to resigning that position effective at the end of the current school year.