The new Manila High School principal, Pam Chipman, is a familiar face on campus as she has served as MHS music director for the past 24 years.
She began her teaching career in Manila in 1978 with 24 choir members. Since that time, she has built the program to 140 choir members. Under Chipman's direction, the MHS junior and senior high choirs have received district, regional and state recognition.
Mrs. Chipman was named District Choir Director of the Year in 1995. The 2003 choirs received All Superior ratings in state competition.
"It was not an easy decision to leave music," Chipman said. "I felt like I had accomplished all I could in the choir department. I was not tired of my job and still enjoyed it, but I felt it is time."
Chipman, a Trumann high school graduate, earned her music degree from Arkansas College (now Lyon College) in Batesville. She earned a master degree in counseling in 1996 from Arkansas State University and a certification of administration in 1998 from ASU.
Matt Sheets, former choir director of Nettleton Junior High School, will be the new MHS choir director.
Chipman said he has had some outstanding choirs and will do a great job for Manila.
"I'm looking forward to serving as high school principal. I'll try to work as hard in this position as I have as choral director," Chipman said. "This is the only school system I have ever taught in, and I think we have a wonderful system."
Chipman said when she got out of college 25 years ago, there were a lot of openings for choral directors but she is pleased and has never been sorry that she came to Manila.
"The school and community have always been very supportive of our program," Chipman said.
"It feels like home. It feels right and I am looking forward to the upcoming year."
The 2003-2004 school year will begin Aug. 18.