West Carroll School Board Honors Outgoing Chairman
Meeting Included Closed-Door Consult With Attorney
BY BRAD SAM
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ATWOOD (August 2) — The West Carroll Special School District Board of Education met Thursday with a full agenda. It was the final such meeting for Chairman Jimmy Halford, who declined to seek reelection.
To honor Halford for his 28 years on the board, including 20 as chairman, Director of Schools Dexter Williams surprised him with a plaque. Board members and others present at the meeting, including several of Halford’s family members, gave him a standing ovation, and several individuals complimented him on his lengthy service. Halford called his time on the board “an honor and a privilege.”
The meeting also included another rare occurrence, an executive session in which the board adjourned to a private room with the school district’s attorney for approximately 20 minutes. No indication was given as to the subject of the closeddoor discussion.
Another round of resignations was reported, including Angie Morris (first grade), Beth Bridges (color guard), David Grisham (seventh grade Social Studies), Stephanie Kyle (elementary Special Education), Keri Hathcock (district-wide nurse), Susan Barrow (bass fishing team sponsor), Wendy Wilson (eighth grade Math) and Amy Martinez (elementary education assistant). The three school principals introduced new staff, many of which were present at the meeting.
Junior-senior high Principal Tim Stratton introduced Lori Bigham (instructional assistant), Mary Bragg (guidance), Megan Gotshall (Chemistry), Scott Guymon (head baseball coach), Doug McCaslin (eighth grade Social Studies/junior high football coach), Jordan McDade (History), Nathan Miles (seventh grade Social Studies), Michael Nelson (band director), Crystal Polinski (interventionist) and Sydni York (Algebra).
New elementary Principal Tracy Foster introduced Kim Allen (third grade ELA), Brittany Fowler (fifth grade ELA), Lindsey Jowers (fifth grade Math), Emily Bloodworth (fifth grade Social Studies), Kelly Maynard (sixth grade Science/Social Studies), Brittney Wixon (Special Education), Gayle Kendrick (paraprofessional) and Michael Nelson (band).
Primary Principal Jackie Wester introduced Debra Keeton (counselor), Jennifer Hames (first grade) and Krystle McCall (second grade).
The board approved on second reading a board policy amendment that counts grades from the second semester when determining class ranking for seniors. Previously, those grades did not figure into final rankings of graduates.
Board members rejected a proposal to amend the policy on recruitment of employees that would have required the district to wait five days after a job posting before filling the position.
Approved on first reading were a dozen policy updates. One notable update brings the district into compliance with a new law requiring all employees, contract worker and volunteers to undergo a background check every five years. Another prevents the district from entering into non-disclosure agreements with employees or former employees. Furthermore, the Director of Schools is now required to report felony convictions to the state board of education.
Also approved was the district’s membership in educational associations TSBA, TSSE, TOSS and AIMS.
New junior high football Coach Doug McCaslin requested funding for new uniforms, citing extreme wear and tear on many of the team’s 10-15 year old jerseys. He presented two options, including photos and prices, for sets of 40 uniforms to include pants and home and away jerseys. Of the two, Principal Stratton recommended Under Armor uniforms through BSN Sports, which could provide a quicker turnaround and wouldn’t require a down payment. McCaslin and the board concurred. The items will be ordered immediately, and the board verbally agreed to approve at the next meeting funding for the uniforms, less what the program can provide from fundraising efforts.
The board approved the creation of two new positions at the junior-senior high, a Special Education teacher and an educational assistant, needed because of the closure of the Carroll County Special Learning Center and the subsequent absorption of displaced Special Education students to West Carroll. Funds previously allocated to the center will be used for the new staff.
A request was approved to declare obsolete technology equipment as surplus, and athletic practice during the school day was approved as required annually.
Director Williams reported on the results of his annual evaluation. He was judged on five domains and given a score of 1-4, with 4 being the highest. He received an overall average of 3.0, including a 3.2 for his relationship with the board, a 2.7 for his financial management, a 2.9 for his staff relationships, a 3.0 for his instructional leadership and a 3.3 for community and public relations. Per his request, the individual comments in the evaluation will be made available to the public through the board office.
The three principals gave updates, each expressing his or her satisfaction with the first two days at the respective schools and each reporting an uptick in enrollment.
Principal Stratton reported that the West Carroll Fishing Team of Shooter Nelson and Seth Ricketts (a Huntingdon student) participated in the Junior Bassmaster National Championship at the Carroll County Thousand Acre Recreational Lake and earned an 11th place finish out of 54 boats.
Director Williams reported on several topics. Candidates for school resource officers will be interviewed in the coming week. Signs bearing the national motto “In God We Trust” are in the works for all three schools and the central office as required by a new state law. The Tennessee School Board Association (TSBA) Leadership Conference and Annual Convention is November 1-4. Finally, the new concession stands were toured recently and everyone is “pretty satisfied.”
The meeting adjourned in just over an hour.
Photo by Brad Sam/The Banner