Morenci school board 2014.03.05

Written by David Green.

Morenci's superintendent of schools received top ratings from board members Monday night and was offered a three-year contract extension.

Board members evaluated interim superintendent Mike McAran on a seven-point rating form and gave him the top "highly effective" grade on nearly every item. McAran garnered the top rating in relationship to the board; personal relations; community relationships; management techniques; and personal attributes.

McAran suggested a low rating should be given for professional development since he isn't interested in going back to school nor in attending conferences. In spite of that, he was praised by others for fostering the professional development of staff members.

The board chose a low rating for achievement of goals after deciding that it's too early to measure success.

McAran gave a warning about the high rating in personal relations. 

“Tough times are coming,” he said, suggesting that a positive acceptance by staff might change when the district faces unpleasant choices in the future.

The board approved McAran’s contract through June 2017. Board president Scott Merillat said the contract is an indication that the board and staff believe the district is headed in the right direction under McAran's leadership.

"This will give us some long-range stability," Merillat said.

That's one of the pieces of the puzzle, added board trustee Phil McCaskey, referring to school improvement plans.

"People need to see stability," he said.

STAFF—Teacher Dan Hoffman was hired to serve as varsity track coach. Kim Irish was hired as assistant coach and Jacob Bovee was approved as a volunteer assistant.

Athletic director Kay Johnson said she wants to encourage multi-sport athletes and she thinks Hoffman will help in that regard. She noted that Morenci is half the size of some schools in the conference and an effort must be made to get students active in athletics.

SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT—A school improvement committee consisting of administrators, teachers and parents is meeting to discuss the revitalization of the school district. 

“We can no longer do what we’ve been doing,” said finance director Erica Metcalf. “We need to move Morenci forward.”

Ideas range from ways to build school spirit to changing to a “balanced school” calendar with a shorter summer break and longer breaks during the year.

Look for a report in the March 12 Observer.

  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.

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