Mercer County Schools has named Kelly Odell as the new principal of Mercer County Intermediate School.
Odell, a Lee County, Mississippi native, was a graduate of Tupelo High School, earned her undergraduate at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, her master’s in educational leadership from Eastern Kentucky University, and second masters for principal certification from Campbellsville University through Boyle County School’s Grow Your Own program.
Odell began her career in the classroom as a 2nd grade teacher at Manor Hill Elementery in Liberty, Missouri. Odell went on to teach at East End Elementary in Humboldt, Tennessee and Trenton Elementary in Trenton, Tennessee before taking a position at Woodlawn Elementary School in Boyle County.
“We moved here seven years ago to work with Ebenezer Church’s large youth group,” said Odell. “We knew we needed to be here.” Odell’s husband, Joel, is pastor at the Ebenezer Church of Christ and they have three children, Jesse, 15, Leah, 12 and Phoebe, 8.
Odell replaces Dana Cobb, who spent 29 years in the Mercer County School system.
Odell’s first official day as principal was July 1, and she said she is ready to get to work, “I’m ready to get in there and learn and see where we are thriving and where we can improve. I want to use my strengths to make MCIS more successful.”
When asked what her goal was for the intermediate school, Odell said she wants everyone to realize going back to school amidst the COVID-19 pandemic is going to be okay,
“We will learn as we go and if we make a mistake, we will learn from that as well. We will take this one step at a time to ensure the best education possible,” she said.
Odell said she knows what it means to be uplifted by a community after the tragic loss of her in-laws, Delmer and Delores Odell, and her daughter, Keren, and her other daughter was injured when their vehicle was struck by a semi truck on the Bluegrass Parkway. “It meant a lot to have the outpouring of support and love from the community. It was God’s way of leading me back to Mercer County and now allowing me to give back that support,” she said.
“I hope to inspire everyone—students, staff and teachers to be their very best. I want to lift them up and help them continue to grow and thrive,” said Odell.