The Madison County Board of Education began its first meeting of the year by voting for board member Greg Wilkes to serve as board chairman and board member Robert Hooper to serve as vice-chairman.
Wilkes replaces former board chairman Jim Patton, who retired as a board member at the end of 2012. Hooper replaces Wilkes as vice-chairman. Two new members, Cindy Nash and Amy McKenzie, took their places at the board table.
The board will attend a retreat this Saturday, Jan. 12, at the board offices in Danielsville.
In other business, the board voted to provide free meals (breakfast and/or lunch) to local law enforcement officials in an effort to provide an increased presence in schools. Superintendent Dr. Allen McCannon said he feels this will not only increase the safety aspect in schools, but provide an additional assurance for parents as law enforcement will be in and out of school buildings. In addition to a school resource officer at the high and middle schools, McCannon also pointed out that officers with the local CHAMPS program are at different elementary schools on an almost daily basis.
“We are very fortunate with the relationship we have with law enforcement here,” McCannon said.
The BOE accepted a contract with Mountain Education Charter High School, which is to be located in the old Bowman Elementary School in Bowman. McCannon said the school specializes in being an alternative school for students who have struggled in the traditional school setting and helps these students obtain a high school diploma. The contract comes at no cost to the county school system. McCannon said the system may help with transportation if there is enough demand.
The board heard that the Terrell Foundation donated $12,500 for school outreach programs, such as the back to school rally, after school program scholarships, miscellaneous school supplies for needy students, along with clothing items such as coats and shoes.
Assistant superintendent Bonnie Knight reported that roofs at Comer and Danielsville elementary schools and at the high school have needed extensive repairs due to the amount of rain recently. She said plans are to replace some of these roofs over the summer.
Knight said school nutrition plans to expand the summer feeding program this year by trying to take meals to different communities, utilizing churches as other school systems in the area have done. Knight said the hope is that this will make the food more readily available to those living outside the Danielsville area.
Assistant superintendent Sherrie Gibney-Sherman told the board that planning for the new college and career academy has begun, including meetings with Athens Technical College officials and community groups. She said a website is being established which will allow the community to read about the project online.
The board heard that student Caitlin Felt was selected as a Georgia delegate for the 51st United States Senate Youth Program in Washington D.C. March 9 – 16.
In addition, Felt will receive a $5,000 college scholarship.
The BOE also recognized Governor’s Honors nominees: Sarah Spradlin, Rhiannon Wheeler, John Samuel, Joseph Black, Abigail Darwin, Destin Blalock, Charles Bidinger, Luke Frank and Samantha Cofer.
The board approved the following personnel recommendations.
Colbert Elementary – They accepted the resignation of parapro Theresa Bettis and agreed to hire Lisia Elder as her replacement.
Comer Elementary – They hired teacher Susan McCormick as a 49 percent employee and approved a maternity leave change for teacher Abby Newland.
Hull—Sanford Elementary – They increased parapro Devin Burroughs from seven to eight hours per day.
Transportation – They hired Janice Funnin as a bus driver and rehired Glenn Lyles as a bus driver for several open routes.