Chairman, new vice chair elected to school board

(From left) Terry English was elected vice chairman and Terry Frank was elected chairman for the McDowell County Board of Education Monday night.

The agenda for Monday night’s school board meeting jumped around a bit as they re-organized their board and elected the chair and vice chair.

Terry Frank retained the position as chair on the board, but Terry English will now be the vice chair, replacing Bob Brackett.

Mark Garrett was reappointed as the secretary to the board and Charlie Mae Mace as the administrative assistant to the board. Garrett then reaffirmed the N.C. School Board Association Board of Code of Ethics, which were signed by each board member.

In other business:

-Garrett read his administrative reports to the board for December.

-Teacher of the Year Benjamin Moore sang two songs with West Marion Elementary students at the beginning of the meeting. Moore played guitar while the children two Christmas songs for the attendees. To watch a video, visit www.mcdowellnews.com.

-Robert Masiello, of Mr. Bob’s Donuts, was recognized for a donation to the Endowment Fund of $3,050. The funds were donated with proceeds from the second annual Carolina Donut Festival held annually in downtown Marion in the spring. Masiello was not present for the recognition. “Mr. Bob is very generous. The Endowment Fund does a lot of to take care of weekend backpacks and summer feeding to make sure kids have food when they are not with us,” Garrett said at the meeting. “I can say that 100 percent of the funds in Endowment get into the hands of kids and families.”

-There was no correspondence or requests to address the board.

-Under unfinished business, the board voted unanimously to confirm the goals of the McDowell County School Strategic Plan. The priorities for the plan is that each McDowell County student will graduate ready for their future, whether college or career; MCS will have effective systems to support leadership, recruitment, talent development and support for existing leaders; MCS will leverage internal and external partnerships to optimize outcomes for students; MCS will maintain and upgrade all facilities and operations to support 21st century teaching and learning. An addition was added to have community involvement and communication with parents and community. Chairman Terry Frank said this is probably the board’s biggest achievement of the year.

-The board voted unanimously under unfinished business to approve Nebo Elementary’s low-performing school plan. Nebo principal Deserae Kirkpatrick presented the board with the plan from the School Improvement Team at the November meeting, which is required by statute. It will be available on the school’s website at www.mcdowell.k12.nc.us.

-Old Fort representative Patrick Ellis said he would like to have a tentative schedule on the Old Fort project because he is fielding many questions on where they are in the process of still building due to the fact they were not approved for the grant. “I think it is our responsibility to wait and see what we can do with the grant this coming year. The application is due in August, and should hear something the end of the October. We will be pursuing and building things from now until then, and try to get more clarity on the project. The project is still moving forward. If we have a chance of getting $15 million it’s our due diligence to do everything we can to do that. I am getting a lot of questions,” said Ellis. Garrett said he spoke with the architect Chuck Hamrick on Friday and he should have a rough floor plan for review by the next meeting. Ellis responded by saying he still getting a lot of concern about the auditorium. Garrett said Hamrick’s solution for the auditorium is to find stadium seating that is retractable and elevated, and he is working on the details of that. Frank said at joint education county meeting the County Commissioners said they are still 100 percent behind the school board. Ellis said that if they don’t get the grant, that yes, they can still build a new school for Old Fort Elementary.

-Under new business, the board approved unanimously the Head Start employee policy and procedures handbook. They also approved the Head Start policy council bylaws. Head Start Director Karey Dulaney was present to answer questions from the board.

-Each board member gave their reports from the N.C. School Board Association annual conference. Greg Barksdale said he and Frank went to a meeting referencing the educational lottery system. Barksdale said, “It is absolutely shocking to find out where the monies were going and I encourage all of you to research that, because it was asked of one of the legislators if they were not ashamed of what they were doing to the educational lottery system and his answer was, ‘If it gets to be a problem, we will change the name’. That has bothered me ever since by going to that meeting and finding out how the money is being spent. Each and every one of us should speak to our representatives and understand how we feel about that.”

-CTE Director Mary Finley spoke to the board about the Business Advisory Council under CTE House Bill 450. She told the board at the last legislative session that mandate was passed requiring CTE to establish a business advisory council. The purpose of this is to have a council identify economic and workplace trends related to the workplace. The council must have nine members including the superintendent, CTE director, principals, parents and business and industry partners. Each director in the LEA is requesting we use the Region C Development board to be our regional council.

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