SPS appoints three directors, new Director of Health Services


Springfield Public Schools announced Friday that Lee Ann Neill will succeed Jean Grabeel’s retirement as the district’s new director of health services.

Neill is a district veteran, working 19 years as a school nurse and the last eight as a health services coordinator.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to continue to work with a wonderful group of school nurses to provide quality services to students and district staff,” Neill said in a press release. “I had the privilege of learning from Jean Grabeel. Continuity within the District Health Services Department benefits all those we serve.

Grabeel goes to retire this summer after 30 years in the neighborhood.

Neill is an active member of the Missouri Association of School Nurses and the National Association of School Nurses, and has served on the boards of both groups.

Her undergraduate work in Management and Organizational Communication was done at Missouri State University. Her undergraduate and graduate nursing work was at Loyola University. She will complete her doctorate in nursing practice from Loyola later this year.

The district also named three new directors on Friday.

Jeffries Elementary

Sabrina Francis, principal of Hubble Elementary in Marshfield, has been named the new principal of Jeffries Elementary.

Sabrina Francois

“I am happy to be welcomed into the Jeffries family and community,” Francis said in the statement. “I look forward to being part of the great things happening on behalf of students.”

Francis will replace Tom Masterson, who has been named elementary director for the next year.

She spent three years in leadership at Marshfield Schools, where she implemented student interventions and worked to develop leaders.

After:Springfield appoints new principals for seven schools

Previously, she spent 11 years as an elementary school teacher and school counselor in the Fair Grove District.

She completed her undergraduate studies at Missouri State University, her graduate studies at William Woods University, and is pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership, Curriculum, and Teaching at Evangel University.

Sherwood Elementary School

Julie Routh, learning coach at Twain Elementary, is the new principal of Sherwood Elementary.

Julie Routh

In this role, she supports instructional programming by facilitating the teacher support team, administers developmental assessments, and provides focused instruction.

Routh will replace Crystal Magers, who will be the district’s new executive director of academics.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as Sherwood’s next leader,” Routh said in the statement. “I look forward to working with staff, families and the community to continue the growth and success of our students.”

After:SPS superintendent announces 10 leadership changes for next school year

Routh spent nine years teaching second and fifth grades in the districts of Humansville and Bolivar.

Prior to joining Springfield, she was a manager and assistant manager at Bolivar for 10 years.

She earned a bachelor’s, master’s, honors, and doctorate from Southwest Baptist University.

Virtual learning

Helen Williams, who spent two years as assistant director for virtual learning in the district, will oversee elementary virtual learning for Launch, the district’s virtual learning platform.

Launch offers a virtual program for Springfield and over 360 partner districts across Missouri.

Helen Williams

“I am grateful to work with an incredible team at Launch, including our amazing full-time teachers working across the district,” Williams said in the statement. “We’ve accomplished so much since launching our virtual full-time elementary program two years ago and we have exciting new opportunities ahead for SPS students.”

Williams was vice principal of McCulloch Elementary at Republic for two years and building director of Explore’s Artworks summer program.

After:SPS announces four management changes for the coming year

She also spent 12 years as a kindergarten and first grade teacher in Springfield, at Rountree Elementary.

Williams completed her undergraduate studies in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia and in Early Childhood Education at Missouri State University.

She completed graduate school and an honors degree in Educational Administration from Williams Woods University.

Appointments are not official until approved by the school board.

Claudette Riley is the News-Leader’s educational reporter. Email news tips to [email protected]


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