Benton HS Principal Announces Resignation

Dr Jeanette Westfall

Dr Jeanette Westfall


The St Joseph School District is in the process of searching for another high school principal.

Dr. Jeanette Westfall, Principal of Benton High School, has announced her resignation effective June 30, 2013.

In an announcement Sunday, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Melody Smith said she has accepted Dr. Westfall’s resignation with regret.

“Dr. Westfall has decided to pursue other leadership positions and I fully support her in her decision,” said Dr. Smith. “Dr. Westfall is a strong instructional leader and she has helped move the District and Benton High School forward.”

Dr. Westfall was Co-Principal at Benton with Jeff Modis from 2007-2011, and has served as Principal since then. In addition, she was an Instructional Coach with SJSD for two years and a communication arts teacher at Lafayette High School for nine years.

The District will post the position this week and begin the search for a new Principal.

  • annoyed

    “she has helped move the District and Benton High School forward.”

    Or, you know, she didn’t. She actively turned a blind eye to the bullying and sexual abuse of mentally disabled kid(s). She enabled it. Rather than punishing the abusers and the bullies, she treated the ones getting abused and bullied like they were the problem. “Oh, you can leave five minutes early for classes so that kids won’t touch you inappropriately in the hall.”

    Not only was a known abuser not taken out of a class with his victim, but the victim was not allowed to change classes either. When bullying was reported, nothing was done. When finally they learned they had to stick up for themselves, -they- were the ones to get suspended. Not only that, but the sergeant for their JROTC program told two autistic children that they brought it on their selves when they were teased at the RO ball. Nothing happened to him, though parents complained.

    So, let me sit here and side-eye this article really hard. There’s no forward movement there, and there were far more incidents than just the ones I mentioned, ones that were brought to her attention, only for kids to just transfer schools or move out of town because of it. Yeah, way to go. That’s definitely the kind of fight I want to look for in a leader anywhere. /sarcasm.

    Current score: 18
    • Happy Camper

      Those exact types of things happened from her first year there. I am sad to see her inexcusable decisions continued…I’m just so happy for the students, teachers at BHS (and the wonderful South St.Joe community) that she is finally gone! …”helped move BHS forward”…that quote deserves every bit of your sarcasm, Annoyed! I’m just very sorry for the students that it took that long.

      Current score: 8
    • Think before you speak.

      Their sergeant is one of the best people you could ask for as a teacher. He provides the best life skills and knows the ins and outs of everything. He was not putting down those autistic kids. In a joking fashion he made a remark that some people took way to seriously. He helps every single kid reach their goals no matter what it is. So lets do some more thinking before you speak next time. Also, Dr. Westfall was not the worst thing to happen to Benton. She made some good and bad choices, most people do. Unless you have been principle of a high school, or fought overseas, then your opinion doesn’t matter, so can it.

      Current score: 3
      • anon

        No…you think before you speak….all this…about me. sergant was not at all joking when he said my date and i brought it upon ourselves….i didnt tell that girl to call me a “fat *** miss piggy” at the ball. i didnt ask for any of it to happen. but yet…we brougjt it upon ourselves right? And oh..lets not forget the choir teacher making remarks about me during class when i was out of the room…..a student was making sexual jokes about me during class and wouldnt let me leave to go repirt it because “you cant leave during testing” i had to text my father and have him raise hell with the school so i could get out of there….and when i got to the mccoys office…Bosworth told me i shouldnt have been using my phone during class….you people think bentons staff just craps golden turds….but they dont give a dang about the special needs. were bring it upon ourselves. if i woulda bent to the school board i coulda had a few peoples jobs……you shouldnt be opening your mouth unless you know what your talking about. you didnt go through what i went through at that hell hole called Benton…so dont even try and act like you know….benton is the worst school for a child witb special needs to go. they will be singlex out and punished!!

        Current score: 0
      • annoyed

        Oh really? Because I can think of another student that he talked down upon right in front of her, made fun of her mental status, and this was YEARS before the students I mentioned even came close to high school. Her brother of all people had to go get in his face about it. He wasn’t even talking to the student in private, he was doing it in front of the class, and it was NOTHING school related, it was a personal attack on what he assumed her mental status was.

        Joking or not, you know what, you don’t tell a student autistic or otherwise that they deserve it. That’s not funny. Bullying is not funny. When you’re in a position of power, when you have the mental, emotional, and physical well being of a child to worry about, you DO NOT MAKE LIGHT OF A SITUATION IN WHICH THEY FEEL THREATENED THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

        Just because you have fought overseas, or enlisted, does NOT give you a free pass to treat everyone terribly. I commend our forces for fighting for our rights, but that does not put them above common courtesy. Especially in a position over students.

        So, tell me how being a Sergeant of a JROTC program gives you right to let “autistic kids” be made fun of and make light of it yourself, and to attack other neuro-divergent students personally. Tell me, exactly, in a place that is supposed to have ZERO TOLERANCE for bullying, allow a kid to be sexually harrassed, groped, grabbed, and otherwise tormented and bullied by MULTIPLE PEOPLE in your halls. Tell me, like…how there’s a priority that would make that unimportant. Tell me how you can let a rapist stay in their class. Tell me, how it’s okay to go ahead and punish a bullied kid when they finally realized YOU’RE NOT THERE FOR THEM and have to fight back for themselves.

        And tell me, where in this crazy universe you live in, how it’s okay that when this bullied child, whom you abandoned and blocked for help at every turn, calls their parent because they’re so done with this that they are suicidal, that you decide to blame any sort of medication they may be on.

        So, dudebro, I think it is YOU that needs to think before YOU speak.

        Current score: 4
      • anon

        People need to stop sticking up for the staff. people need to realize that Benton is not all you think it is. the people in that school damaged me the students tortured me. and whats even worse is that the staff allowed it.and i know many others who were treated just as badly as i was. they put the bullies up on a pedistool and made the victims suffer. No one should ever have to go through what i went through…i graduated 2011 but i still hear from people i love and care about getting treAted the same way i was treated. and its not right!!!!a end needs to come to this. students should feel safe at their school.they shouldnt have to be scared of walking the halls scared of being pushed into a locker. having their bra pulled and snapped on their skin. being called “fatso” “fat ***” “nasty b****” no one deserves to feel alone. misunderstood. feel like no one cares because they have a special need

        Current score: 0
  • Billy Bob

    I heard she was no fun to work for and was down right condescending. Happy Trails, Lady!

    Current score: 15
  • Happy Camper

    Dr. Smith you were WRONG about “Dr.” Westfall. She was bad for Benton from day one. I love that school, and she was the absolute worst “leader” ever. The stories I could tell…but I’ll just smile now at how my faith in karma is rewarded. No matter who replaces this woman, the students of Benton High will be better for it.

    Current score: 11
  • King Hill Cardinal

    This should have happened years ago, she ran a once proud school into the ground. It has been a revolving door for teachers because no one can stand working for her–to many good teachers have left the south side. Almost a third of the staff turns over each year. She is a BULLY, who only sought to pad her own resume while chasing the next big fad. Why was her incompetence allowed to continue? Test scores have been droping every year. Benton is finally able to “move forward” after stepping backwards for so many years. Let’s hope the board finds the best candidate possible, my kids deserve better.

    Current score: 12
  • Roger

    What gets me is the bigger picture with the sudden jumping of ship of the upper echelon in the SJSD. Begged and pleaded with all the taxes for improvements in the district and suddenly bailing on us. Maybe there is something looming over their heads they want no responsibility for? And why are they not hiring qualified applicants locally in the district? Just another example as to how this city likes to groom people to seek work outside of St.Joe. My wife has every qualification to teach here and is lucky to get a substitute job. And myself, if I were to take a similar job as to what I have in this town it would be a 50% pay cut. Maybe our Chamber of Commerce could make our City’s slogan “St.Joe , We have plenty to eat”. They along with the School District do nothing in my opinion to retain or recruit talent and business here. I think there is more going on with this issue.

    Current score: 5
  • Lee

    The district is doing some funny things these days and all are bailing. Most needed to go years ago. Now I see the School Board is eleimating the provision that Missouri companies do not have to be hired in their bidding process when there is excessive unemployment……….guess someones out of state brother is going to get the contracts for the two new schools. I think some more house cleaning needs to take place for those who actually approve to spend the money since wise choices are not being made.

    Current score: 2
  • Concerned

    Glad to see the Girls club finally be broken up. Hopefully the SJSD is smart enough to not make the same mistakes it made before. With a new Super I hope they don’t hire within we don’t need friends to be the head of the Largest Employer in town. It is a business and needs to be treated accordingly. If you are not doing the job there is always someone out there that can and will. Under Dr Westfall the people that did there job were lied to and left and people that just show up and skate through as long as they stayed buddies were protected. There a lot of people in this district both main office and district wide that should be looking for a new job. This board needs to focus on the big picture and that is revenue. No big business with high paying jobs comes to a town with a district that is struggling like ours. Find the right person to head the company and it should all fall in place after that. Go BHS.

    Current score: 5
  • Karma

    I can tell you working for Dr Westfall has been a privilege!! She is one who will go to bat for ANYONE (staff or student)! Yes everyone has their faults but how can one person be accountable for the “destruction of Benton High School” as you seem to insinuate? Her life revolves around this school and those inside. I have never met a more caring, genuine person than this lady who believe it or not has respect from the majority of the student body and staff. Your accusations and insinuations mean nothing to those who truly know Dr Westfall. In my opinion, which only matters to myself, Benton is not a school in trouble. It is every school in town due to lack of respect. Our children learn it somewhere and it is obvious from these posts where the teachings came from!!!

    Current score: 2
    • annoyed

      Really, because the high school I graduated in town treated their special education children with respect. They didn’t ignore them, make them feel like they shouldn’t be seen nor heard. If ya’ll truly knew her, and can still say that she’s a great person after all the ‘turn the other cheek’ bs she’s done for those who’ve truly needed her more than anything, then I think the lot of you need to straighten your priorities.

      Let’s see, let’s…overlook a star player on our football and basketball teams whose been caught with drugs and let him keep playing because he does well for our school. But let’s not help someone who’s being so mentally and physically abused that they’re contemplating suicide. Yeah. Principal of the year. Totally happens at every high school in Saint Joe. Um…or not.

      Current score: 2
  • Sweet Daddy

    Who can go the distance when KARMA comes gunnin for you.

    Current score: 2
  • Candy

    Bravo to all the “Southenders” on their comments. Here is my question. If things were this bad, and by all accounts they were, why didn’t you all get together and put a stop to it. You are good at organizing other stuff like the Southside Festival and parade and rodeo, etc. Get a group of parents together and get some buisness owners together and you go to the board and demand results. You threaten to withdraw participation, sponsorship and such from the arts, sports, everything, and you get the News Press to print some opinions and articles.
    The Board will listen. They understand bad publicity and money.
    You will have a new start next year, don’t let it get this bad again.
    Good Luck. Go Irish!
    I still love you guys tho. :)

    Current score: 2
  • she looked the other way

    i can relate to the comments made about turning a blind eye. if she was talking to someone (someone being me) about anything that was troubling me or a student she listens to every word you say. nods says ok and walks the other way. if you bring the same problem back the next day or even at the end of the day. she would ask what are you talking about!!!!! So yes she only cared for people that were on her side or that she could pass her problems on to you. When really she got what was coming to her she”s not a good person ,teacher ,or a friend to the people/staff/students needed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i choose the grammer i wrote with to show how well we grow and develop into what she thinks of everyone lesser to her. THAT WE ARE ALL WORTHLESS IN HER EYES BECAUSE WE’ER NOT HER!!!!!! Maybe i made this a bit personal. Oh well the sun has set on the Westfall next its Mrs.Smith turn

    Current score: 1