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.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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