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.

  • 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
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • 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.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • 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.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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