New board members installed, students recognized at school board meeting

Image: Clover Stiles’ kindergarten class signing the Pledge of Allegiance.  The students were Taylor Souder, Hanah Krusen, Hannah Pajak, Ella Hudson, Mia Droll, Cy Williams, Molly Cusano, Austin Cate and Grace Patton

Clover Stiles’ kindergarten class signing the Pledge of Allegiance.  The students were Taylor Souder, Hanah Krusen, Hannah Pajak, Ella Hudson, Mia Droll, Cy Williams, Molly Cusano, Austin Cate and Grace Patton (Alysa Kirton)

Newly-elected school board members were installed and several students were recognized Monday night at the monthly meeting of the Italy School Board of Trustees.

Ellis County Justice of the Peace Jackie Miller Jr., an Italy High School graduate, swore in Cheryl Owen and Russ Lewis, newly-elected members of the school board.

The board meeting opened with Clover Stiles’ kindergarten class signing the Pledge of Allegiance.  The students were Taylor Souder, Hanah Krusen, Hannah Pajak, Ella Hudson, Mia Droll, Cy Williams, Molly Cusano, Austin Cate and Grace Patton.

Several students were recognized during the meeting including Kortnei Johnson, a freshman, who made quite an impact at the state track and field competition recently. She captured first place in the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.97 seconds. She grabbed second place in the 200 meter dash with a time of 25.03 seconds and fourth place in the long jump with a jump of 18 feet, 8.25 inches. Athletic Director Hank Hollywood said he looks forward to seeing the young athlete progress over the next three years.

Lee Joffre and Coach Jennifer Reeves presented certificates to the girls’ softball team that advanced to regional quarterfinals this year.

The 2012 softball team members are: Katie Byers, Bailey Bumpus, Bailey DeBorde, Bailey Eubank, Jaclynn Lewis, Kelsey Nelson, Alyssa Richards, Megan Richards, Alma Suaste, Tara Wallis and Madison Washington. Managers are Drenda Burk, Britney Chambers and April Lusk.

Barry Bassett, superintendent, recognized Reeves and assistant softball coaches Tina Richards and Michael Chambers and presented each of them with a coveted gladiator bobble-head.

Marilyn Seidlitz, art teacher, recognized several art students who went “above and beyond” this year.

She said 17 students participated in the Waxahachie Student Art Show, six in the Ellis County Expo and two in the Rodeo Austin Eco Recycle Art Show.

Those junior high students were Hunter Ballard, Blake Brewer, Katy Connor, Halee Turner, Vanessa Cantu and Christy Murray. High school artists being recognized were Andrea Lanning, Anna Riddle, Heather Maynard, Lupita Rincon, Matthew Parra, Jared Rodriguez, Jesica Wilkins, Joseph Sage, Jaclynn Lewis, Austin Williams, Gus Allen and Devan Payne.

Bassett recognized Seidlitz for her willingness to step up last year and teach art and agriculture due to the departure of the agriculture teacher. He also presented her with a gladiator bobble-head.

Following student recognition, the board elected new officers for the upcoming year. The officers stayed the same – Larry Eubanks, president; Owen, vice president; and Paul Cockerham, secretary.

The board also unanimously approved a recommendation from Lee Joffre, high school principal, to hire four teachers for the 2012/2013 year. They include Wayne Rowe, ELA teacher and softball coach; Melinda Hines, FCCLA teacher; Kim Watkins, math teacher; and Lindsey Coffman, math teacher.

Joffre said Rowe has been teaching 15 years and coaching softball nine years. 

He said Hines has been teaching six years and authored “Operation MOM-Winning the Mommy Wars.” 

Watkins, according to Joffre, has been teaching two years and has a Bachelors Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies. She will also be junior high cheer sponsor.

Joffre said Coffman has been teaching eight years with four of those years being the math department chair.

During administrative reports, Bassett introduced Andrew Berning with the Renaissance Institute. He said they have been at the local district doing a “needs” assessment.

Berning said the Renaissance Institute is a social enterprise founded to advance the appropriate use of technology in education. He said their mission is to empower the modern educator and learner.

Berning said associates of the Institute are practicing educators and technologists willing to share their essential expertise in educational technology. Clients of the Institute are K-12 school districts, universities, and other learning organizations that benefit from experienced, platform-neutral advice on educational technology. 

He said the district could get objective, product neutral experts. Associates of the Institute are practitioners with successful experience in the following areas:

  • Technology Program Oversight — best practices in technology integration,
  • Technology Infrastructure — networks, servers, cabling and installation,
  • Classroom Technology — projection, sound, interactive technology,
  • Instructional Software — student-centered software,
  • Data Systems — educational data and workflow systems,
  • Online Learning and Computer-Based Instruction — web-based and real-time,
  • Purchasing, Procurement, and Accountability — program evaluation,
  • Legal and Compliance Issues.

The Institute works in conjunction with Texserve, formerly known as Dallas County Schools (DCS), a county school district providing services to independent school districts throughout the State of Texas.

Leatha Mullins, chief technology officer with Texserve, said they have team members all over the state including Maypearl and Waxahachie.

Jon Mathers, school board member, said he would like to see the district pursue this avenue because this group is unbiased or neutral in their recommendations. 

Bassett said he was impressed with the group because they came in with their focus on the students.

Sandy Westbrook addressed the board concerning Energy Mizer Power Reduction System.

Westbrook said this Energy Mizer unit would reduce energy usage by at least eight percent. He said this unit helps reduce the damage caused by electrical power surges and spikes by flattening out the regular peaks and valleys generated as electricity is drawn from the utility company.

He said this would not help with lighting or non-inductive loads but would help with heating and air conditioning, technology, etc. Of the 23 meters at both districts, Westbrook said this unit could benefit 13 meters.

Westbrook presented the group with a proposal offering three options: a direct purchase, a lease to own plan and a monthly rental plan.

Mathers asked what other schools are using this system but Westbrook said he did not have that information. He was asked to provide Bassett with that information.

Bassett gave a brief update concerning the athletic facilities. He said the district has spent $40,000 updating lockers, helmets and softball bleachers. He said they hit a snag with football bleachers because the ones they planned to purchase didn’t fit.

He said Speed Hamby, maintenance director, has found a company out of Illinois that specializes in this type of work. Bassett said the bleachers from Ferris will cost $12,000 and this company that Hamby has found has given a rough estimate of $46,000 to make them fit the current bleachers. 

Hamby said the district can save time by providing manpower and removing all the wood from the bleachers before the company comes in. They discussed scheduling a work day with volunteers from the community coming in to help remove the wood from the bleachers.

Hamby said this firm could have the bleachers completed within three weeks from the start date.

The board also approved minutes from the previous meeting, financial reports, a budget amendment and attendance reports. Current enrollment is 563 students with 304 at Stafford Elementary and 259 students enrolled at the high school. Refined average daily attendance is 530.14 or 96.47%. Current revenues realized are 66.8% with expenditures at 65.81%.

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