VILONIA — A special meeting held Monday night, the Vilonia Board of Education filled two positions for the upcoming school year. 

Dr. David Stephens has been hired to serve as superintendent of the school district replacing Dr. Frank Mitchell, who will retire at the end of the 2013-14 school year.

"There were a lot of good candidates," said Jerry Roberts, board president. "I believe Dr. Stephens is the best fit for our school." 

One deciding factor, Roberts said, is that Stephens has been the superintendent of the Nevada R-5 School District in Nevada, Mo., for about eight years, a district about the same size as the Vilonia district.  He served as assistant superintendent of the Carl Junction Schools in Carl Junction, Mo., from 2005 to 2008. He began his educational career as a special education teacher and guidance counselor in 1985 at Joplin Junior High School. 

Stephens will assume his duties in Vilonia beginning July 1.  Roberts said Stephens’ wife, Kelly, has Vilonia connections. Her mother, Roberts said, owns a business in the Vilonia area. The couple has three children, Isabelle, Lula and Samuel. 

VPS assistant principal Andy Pennington will serve as the principal of the new intermediate school when it opens for the 2014-15 school year.  Pennington has worked in the district about eight years serving as assistant principal for about four years.  Pennington, Roberts said, is a "good fellow—respective of other teachers and good with the kids."

Stephens was not present at the meeting. Pennington shook hands and thanked board members.  "I am honored," he said. "No, honored just does not explain how I feel. It is much more than that. "