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.

  • Homecoming Court
    HOMECOMING—One senior candidate will be chosen Morenci’s fall homecoming queen during half-time ceremonies Friday at the football field. In the back row are seniors Mikayla Price, who will be escorted by Mason Vaughn; Madison Bachman, escorted by Kiegan Merillat, and Mikayla Reinke, escorted by Griffin Grieder. Senior Ariana Roseman is absent from the photo. Her escort is Garrett Smith. In the front is sophomore Abbie White, who will be escorted by Ryder Price; junior Madysen Schmitz, escorted by Harley McCaskey and freshman Madison Keller, escorted by Jarett Cook.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • 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

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