Photo submitted Russellville schools superintendent builds with blocks with students at Stevenson Elementary on Wednesday.

Photo submitted

Russellville schools superintendent builds with blocks with students at Stevenson Elementary on Wednesday.

School got under way on Wednesday in the Russellville Independent District and because of the consistency in leadership, it made for a very smooth first day of class, according to superintendent Bart Flener.

"It was just a really good first day," Flener said. "I got to get out to all our schools see our adult team members and student team members and they were all working together great."

Last year the traffic entrance pattern changed at Stevenson Elementary, which caused some confusion, but that was no problem this time around.

"Wednesday was extremely smooth," Flener said.

This is the first year for the new re-branded Russellville Middle School. In the past several years, the middle school has just been a wing of the high school, but now is considered a separate entity with its own principal -- Cameron Jackson.

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"It was a good first day at the new RMS with Mr. Jackson leading that," Flener said.

Jackson had been an assistant principal under Ben Bruni at RHS for the previous two years. Bruni is starting his third year as principal while Robin Cornelius is in her fourth year as principal at Stevenson.

"It's nice to have continuity in our leadership," Flener said.

So far, the enrollment numbers in the district are about as expected, but one area that has seen huge growth is at the Russellville Preschool Academy, which began offering full-day classes five days a week last year.

"I knew when we made the change to all-day classes, it would increase enrollment, but I didn't know just how quickly it would take off as quickly as it has," Flener said.

Last year the preschool at Stevenson Elementary started out with just 68 students, but that increased to 108 by the end of the school year. When preschool classes begin later this month for the new school year for those students, there will be 116 students with several others on a waiting list to get in.

"I think the increase in interest is a reflection of the program and how successful it is being with our students," Flener said.