Phillips said he would begin by meeting with the current Safety Committee and speaking to staff and parents. He also indicated that he would be working with local law enforcement including the Plymouth Police Department and the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department. Phillips said, “If there were a safety occurrence, law enforcement would be the first responders.” He also plans to work closely with the county EMA (Emergency Management Agency).
Although he will be contacting other school corporations around the state to learn what safety and security plans they have enacted, he said he would be a designing plans specific to the Plymouth School Corporation. “There is not a cookie cutter plan to fit every situation.” Phillips said.
He added, “ The safety audit was very well done and highlighted areas we need to look at.” The Board approved outside safety audit for every building in the corporation last February.
Coming to Plymouth from Atlanta, GA is really a homecoming for Phillips. He is a 1984 graduate of Plymouth High School. Both his mother and sister still live in the Plymouth area. Phillips said, “It is always good to come back to Plymouth.”
Phillips comes to the job with a wide background in law enforcement and safety. Positions he has held in the past include the following: Global Security Director, Kimberly Clark (2006-2013); National Security Director, UPS Director of Security Dayton
Airport (2005-2006); Global Security, Menlo Worldwide (2003-2005); Security Director, CNF, Inc. (2002-2003); Corporate Security, AT & T (2000-2002); Senior Criminal Director, Georgia Governor’s Office (1999-2000); police officer, Carrollton, GA (1993-1999); and Navy Military Police ( 1985-1993).
During the School Board meeting, superintendent Daniel Tyree said, “We are getting more than our money’s worth with Phillips.” Phillips was chosen out of 33 applications. “When we listed the top three criteria for the position, Jim (Phillips) hit all of them.” Board President Todd Samuelson said, “It is unfortunate that we have to have things like this.” He said it is a huge responsibility to assure safety for students. “This will help us have a safe environment for students and our staff.” Samuelson said.
Phillips said he has traveled a million miles over the years and looks forward to being home with his family. His wife Brenda of 22 years was raised in Tallapoosa, GA, but has visited the Plymouth area many times. Phillips said, “It will be a great place for us and for my sons who are six and four to attend school.”
Phillips will serve as the truancy officer for the school corporation as well. Tyree said, “It is a little dangerous to send our principals out to see why kids are not in school. Jim will either go out by himself or with a principal.”
According to Tyree, the salary for Phillips will be paid at some 65-70 percent from the General Fund and the additional monies needed will be taken from various accounts.
Carol Anders Correspondent