Meet the new Principal, Hugs to Principal Jones and Popsicles on the Playground!

Screen Shot 2013-07-21 at 8.55.32 PMMake the transition back to school a little sweeter with Peabody’s “Popsicles on the Playground!”  There’s another treat this year — you and your little Eagle will get to meet Peabody’s new principal — Melanie Nelson! Plus, you can also give Principal Jones a hug… and wish her well on her new adventure!  And you can squeeze this all in right before early registration.

You register early. Your child gets a popsicle. You all get to meet your new principal and say good-bye to Principal Jones. Not bad for a Monday evening.

When: Monday, July 29th

              5:30-6:30 pm

Where: Peabody Elementary Playground

Note: Early registration is Monday, July 29th 3-6pm in the Peabody Cafeteria

Meet the New Principal of Peabody Elementary!

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Melanie Nelson
New Principal of Peabody Elementary

It came as a surprise to many when Kongsouly Jones, Peabody Elementary’s popular principal for the past seven years, announced in late June that she had taken a job with the district as the instructional leadership director for the Northwest region of the newly merged Shelby County Schools.

But with a new school year quickly approaching, the district had to execute a speedy application and interview process which, according to district officials, immediately brought in numerous strong candidates for the highly desirable position as Peabody’s new principal.

Melanie Nelson, formerly principal of Hawkins Mill Elementary, was announced as Ms. Jones’ successor in mid-July and was at the school building just days later to get to know her facility and staff.

“I’m excited to be a part of Peabody Elementary and the Cooper-Young community,” Nelson said. “Peabody Elementary has a lot of rich academics and culture to offer, and I want to be a part of enhancing these fundamentals for our students.”

Nelson is a native Memphian and attended Spring Hill Elementary and Trezevant High School before going on to college at the University of Tennessee-Martin and graduate school at Freed-Hardeman University. She worked in the Memphis City Schools system for 17 years, as a teacher, an instructional facilitator, an assistant principal, and most recently the principal of Hawkins Mill Elementary. Nelson is married and has a 10-year-old son, who will remain at his current elementary school near their home.

When asked about what she sees as some of Peabody’s current strengths, Nelson mentioned the International Studies photo (93)curriculum, the community garden and the school’s commitment to the Responsive Classroom program.

“Through the Responsive Classroom approach, everyone will see students taking more ownership of their learning goals and behavior expectations because students will be a part of the decision-making process,” said Nelson who was one of the district’s original Responsive Classroom trainers. “I have seen school cultures change just by implementing (Responsive Classroom) practices.”

Jones, the former principal, had overseen a number of changes at Peabody, including the influx of a growing number of Cooper-Young families and the increased community involvement that brought.

“There are a lot of things we’ll all miss about Principal Jones,” said Peabody PTA president Chris Kelley.  “For one, the way she stood at the front door nearly every morning, smiling and welcoming our kids as they entered school. She really embraced the Cooper-Young community, allowing neighborhood parents to play an active role in the education of their children. She also was driven to improve the outcomes of all teachers and children. The promotion she received is a testament to all of these qualities, and I am thankful her new leadership role within the Shelby County system will allow her to share best practices with other administrators.”

While Nelson was quick to point out that she didn’t plan to make any drastic changes immediately, as she wants to get to know the school better first, some things Nelson hopes to focus on in her first year at Peabody are ensuring that all students are strong readers, as well as enhancing the aftercare program with a wider array of offerings, like athletic and music opportunities.

Her request of the community? “Please continue to support the school with your involvement through this transition.” She stressed that she has an open-door policy and is always open to hearing the views of the community.

This article also appears in the Lamplighter, the official newspaper for Cooper-Young.  You can learn some fun facts about our new principal by clicking on this article.  (Fun facts located on the bottom of the piece!)

A Letter from Principal Jones

Dear Stakeholders of Peabody Elementary,


Kongsouly Jones

It is with heartfelt words that I write this letter to inform you that as of July 8, 2013, I am leaving the position of principal at Peabody Elementary and beginning my new position as Instructional Leadership Director in the Northwest Region for the newly merged Shelby County Schools.   Although I will miss the work with my Peabody Elementary family and the community of Cooper Young, I look forward to the challenges this promotion has to offer.

It has been a pleasure to serve as principal at this wonderful school.  I hope you know how much I have enjoyed these last seven years. It has been a blessing to experience a wonderful partnership with the students, staff, Friends of Peabody Elementary PTA, school adopters and members of the community.  My promotion has much to do with the success of this learning community that we have created here at Peabody.

Our teaching staff is very much committed to Peabody Elementary.  As always, the staff will strive to provide quality instruction and enriched learning experiences for our wonderful children.  The new principal will have the fortunate opportunity to work with this committed, hardworking staff.  It is wonderful that all nineteen homeroom teachers will return to Peabody Elementary!   I would also like to take this opportunity to update you of the following changes at the school for the upcoming school year:

  • Ms.  Jenifer Eoff, Instructional Facilitator, has been promoted to Assistant Principal at Belle Forest Elementary in the southeast area of Memphis.
  • Ms. Jacqueline Ragland, International Studies Coordinator, has retired from the district.  Deirdre Jones will serve as the International Studies Coordinator during the 2013-14 school year.
  • We gained two certified teachers who are native Russian speakers to replace Mr. Keenan Sloan and Ms. Nicole Miller.
  • Health and wellness conscious physical education teacher, Willie LeFleur, will join our team to replace Ms. Tammie Chapman.
  • Mr. Andre Hayes, also assigned to Rozelle Elementary, will replace Ms. Alene Fifer.
  • Ms. Donna Rae Allen, an experienced CLUE teacher, will replace Ms. Britney Davenport .  We wish Ms. Davenport many moments of happiness as she starts a new chapter in her life with her groom.

We wish everyone the very best in their new endeavors.

Again, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to serve you, your children and this outstanding school community. Peabody Elementary and the Cooper Young community will forever be in my heart.


Kongsouly Jones

Note:  A selection committee is interviewing a number of high quality applicants to find the next principal of Peabody Elementary.  Your Peabody PTA will give you information about the new principal as soon as it is available through the Friends of Peabody website and our Facebook page.

Peabody Parents and Faculty Share Ideas for the New School Year

photo (90)It was a night of brainstorming, sticky notes and community as parents and faculty from Peabody Elementary joined for “Vision Night.” A group of approximately 25 parents and faculty shared food and drinks, while dreaming about and planning for initiatives that will give students even better learning and personal growth experiences.

photo (91)This is the third parent retreat the Peabody PTA has held.  This summer session serves as the foundation for parents and faculty to determine which goals they can work toward… together.

  • The first retreat in 2011 resulted in the redecorating of the library.
  • In 2012, the retreat allowed the PTA to focus on fundraising for new sun shades over the Peabody playground.

Some of the ideas this year include generating a larger volunteer base, more extra-curricular activities for students and raising money for teacher grants… so those that know best can determine how to improve the student experience in the classroom.

Joining the PTA is the best way to get to know your fellow parents and school faculty.  We will have a booth at registration – please pick up your PTA form there and sign up!

It’s the best way to make a difference for your own Peabody Eagle… and all of her classmates. Peabody Pride.

Back to School!

Welcome to Peabody Elementary!  Whether you are a new or returning parent – all the back-to-school rules can be a little confusing.  We hope this makes it easier:

back to schoolKindergartenHere is a special page just for you!

Immunization.  Kindergarten parents. You must get documentation of your child’s immunization record to the school by July 30th.  Here are the details.

The Uniform.  Memphis City Schools has a district-wide uniform code.  We’ve made it easy – click this link for uniform guidelines.

School Supplies.  When we were kids it was so much fun to pick out new pencils and notebooks, but as parents, we know we have to plan ahead if we don’t want it to cost a fortune!  Here is Peabody’s school supply list.

Registration. Every child at Peabody must register every year. Registration will take place inside the Peabody Elementary gymnasium:

Early Registration      

Tuesday, July 23                  3 pm – 6 pm

Monday, July 29                  3 pm – 6 pm

Regular Registration

Tuesday, July 30th               8 am – 3 pm  &  6 pm – 8 pm

Here’s what you need to bring with you for registration.  IMPORTANT!

Drop off and Pick up.  Teachers are ready to receive students by 7:45 am.  The school bell rings at 8:00 am. You can bring your child to the room or drop him off in front of the school.  Staff members our own Peabody Watchdogs are there to help get your child safely out of the car.  Don’t be late – or you’ll have to sign in at Principal Jones’ office (really!)  The school day ends at 3:00 pm.  Your child will be waiting for you outside the school by 2:45 with his classmates and supervised carefully by his teacher.  It’s quite the logistical marvel.