When Tammy Lupardus was announced as the new superintendent for Mexico School District 59, it wasn’t the only administrative change to happen.

Melissa Chastain on Tuesday was named as the district’s new assistant superintendent. She previously served as the principal at Hawthorne Elementary School, a position she’s held for five years.

“Melissa Chastain has demonstrated herself to be an exceptional school leader who puts the needs of children above all else,” outgoing Superintendent Zach Templeton said in a news release. “She is a dedicated and committed educator, who has served her students and her staff at Hawthorne in a manner that has created an environment that serves the emotional, behavioral, and educational needs of all who call Hawthorne home.”

Chastain is succeeding Larry Nelson, who is moving to the Columbia School District. She will start in the position July 1.

Four candidates for the position were interviewed by a team of administrators, faculty and staff and the board of education. The board accepted incoming superintendent Dr. Tammy Lupardus’ recommendation to appoint Chastain as Assistant Superintendent at Tuesday’s board meeting.

“Serving as the principal at Hawthorne Elementary School for the past five years has been a rewarding experience,” Chastain said.

The new opportunity to work with students, staff, families, and the community in a different capacity is exciting, she said.

Chastain also served in the district as the assistant principal at Eugene Field Elementary School, reading coach, special education teacher and process coordinator. She has spent 15 of her 19 year career in education with the Mexico School District.

She is pursuing her doctorate through William Woods University. She holds an educational specialist degree in administration from William Woods, a master’s in special education from the University of Missouri — St. Louis, and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Missouri State University. She is a member of Missouri Association of Elementary Principals and the National Association of Elementary School Principals.