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New assistant joins NES

Students at W.S. Neal Elementary School are seeing a new face around campus.

John Brantley, an Atmore native, was named as assistant principal this year, replacing Sandra Reid, who was named principal at Flomaton Elementary.

John Knott, principal at the East Brewton school, said Brantley will be a good fit for the school and the students.

“He’s is what we need at Neal Elementary,” Knott said. “He has fit right in and meshed well with our staff. This is going to be a good fit for everyone.”

Brantley said he is excited to be back in an Escambia County School after working outside the county.

“I worked as assistant principal at Evergreen Elementary in Conecuh County for a year,” Brantley said. “I’ve also worked in Baldwin County. I’m excited to get back home.”

Brantley said he was prayerful about his return to Escambia County.

“Transition isn’t always an easy thing,” Brantley said. “I was raised in Escambia County and wanted to come back here. I hope that I’m here to stay.”

Brantley said coming to W.S. Neal Elementary School has given him a chance to continue a career as an education administrator.

“I know that I’ve got big shoes to fill following Mrs. Reid,” Brantley said. “But this is a big step for me and I’m excited to be here.”

Brantley said becoming an administrator was something he took plenty of time in deciding.

“I taught at Rachel Patterson Elementary in Atmore and in Baldwin County and even taught at a Christian school for a period of time,” Brantley said. “I had some people encouraging me to become an administrator. I had my doubts about it and took some time to find out what I wanted to do. After having the opportunity in Conecuh County I realized this is the career path that I need to be on. I’m really glad to be back in Escambia County. This is home.”

Brantley isn’t the only new face at the school. Brenna Ball Langham and Lou Anne Steele Gafford have joined the faculty at the school

Langham is in her first year of teaching taking on the duties of teaching kindergarten students.

“I’m very excited about being here,” Langham said. “I’m lucky and blessed. I was a student at W.S. Neal and I’m very happy to be here. There were so many qualified teachers looking for a job so I know that I’m lucky to be here and I’m ready for the challenge.”

Gafford is taking on duties as a special needs teacher with 12 years of experience in the teaching field in Covington County.

“I was told what a good school this was,” Gafford said. “When I interviewed here I felt like this is where I was supposed to be.”

Brantley is a graduate of Flomaton High School and the University of Mobile. Along with his position at W.S. Neal Elementary School, he also serves as the children’s and youth pastor at Crosspoint Baptist Church on Jack Springs Road in Atmore.