School Board honors retiring members

Haywood County School Board members and Central Office staff held a reception on Tuesday, August 12, honoring retiring board members Robbie Jarrett King (seated, left) and Pearlie Hess (seated, right). Many friends, associates and family members attended to offer their thanks for service and well wishes. Pictured are (from left, standing) Superintendent Teresa Russell, board members Allen Currie, Harold Garrett and Greg Vanstory, and Deputy Superintendent Vincent Harvell.

Before the School Board meeting on August 12, friends and family members, fellow teachers and administrators gathered at the Haywood County Schools Central office to honor two retiring board members, Robbie Jarrett King and Pearlie Hess. Mrs. King taught school for about 38 years and served on the school board for eight years. Mrs. Hess taught school for 42 years and also served on the board for eight years. Superintendent Teresa Russell expressed words of gratitude for their service and gave them each a plaque, and Board Chairman Harold Garrett gave the warm words of praise about what they had meant to the community as teachers and as school board members.

Following the reception, Mrs. Russell opened the meeting with some great news from the state. In a report about TCAP proficiency rate growth over the last year, in science, Haywood County students in Grades 3-8 showed the highest growth in the state. In math and social studies, our students ranked fourth from the top in growth in each category. In reading, we ranked 14th among all schools in the state.

Mrs. Russell also announced that after attending the 2014 Tennessee STEM Leadership Academy in June in Nashville, two HHS teachers received grants for projects for their students. Math teacher Zandra Jones received $850 for Rocket Lab packs and Launch Pads. Science teacher John Cunningham received $600 to purchase a projector and accessories.

She also announced a new literacy initiative she is promoting in the schools to promote reading throughout the system. Each of the schools has developed literacy projects and themes to encourage students to increase their reading skills.

In other business, school board members deleted five policies about employee negotiations that are no longer valid, and agreed to change a policy about assignment and transfer, recommended by the TSBA.

Board members also approved two teachers for tenure, based on the new state criteria. Morris Long, now the assistant principal at Haywood Middle School, and Tenesha Walker, also a teacher at HMS, were granted tenure. Teachers now have a five-year probationary period and must receive a four or five on their evaluation.

Deputy Superintendent and CFO Vincent Harvell recommended that eight vehicles be sold as surplus property – five busses, two vans and one pick-up truck. This measure was approved.

Board members approved a change in the discipline policy, and will send information about this home to parents. Mrs. Russell received approval for one-half day out of school for the HHS Tomcat Homecoming on October 3. Tailgating begins at the football stadium parking lot at 11:30 and the parade begins at 2 p.m. The Tomcats will play the Ripley Tigers, and kick-off is at 7:30 p.m

The last order of business was the approval by board members to add a Professional Occupational supplement of 10 percent to some teachers’ salaries in positions that are hard to fill.

The Tennessee School Board will hold its Fall District Meeting for the Southwest District on September 18 at Haywood High School. The next school board meeting will be held on Thursday, September 11, instead of Tuesday that week, due to a meeting conflict for Mrs. Russell.