Nate Parker to serve as interim superintendent 02.10.10

Written by David Green.

Morenci Area Schools has a new interim superintendent in place, and school board members didn’t have to go far to find a replacement.

The board voted unanimously at special meeting Monday night to appoint high school principal Nate Parker to the interim post through June 30, the end of the current school year.

After the meeting, board president Scott Merillat appointed an ad hoc advisory committee to look at options for the future. In addition to the superintendent position, Merillat said other administrative posts may be opening.

“We’ll start looking at how we’re going to align the administrative positions going forward,” he said, noting that Parker is not interested in taking the superintendent job permanently.

Board members Dwight Mansfield and Carrie Dillon will join Merillat on the committee.

Parker currently serves as Spanish teacher in the mornings and high school principal in the afternoons. A permanent substitute will be hired to take over his Spanish classes for the remainder of the school year.

The board emerged from a closed session—discussing contractual issues related to the previous superintendent—to discuss the interim superintendent job. Merillat asked for discussion and Mansfield nominated Parker for the job. After a second by Gary Ries, Merillat asked for discussion, heard none and the vote was taken.

Merillat said the board expects Parker to receive collaborative assistance from middle school principal Kay Johnson, elementary dean of students Mary Fisher and district finance director Erica Metcalf. All of the other administrators said they were willing to help where needed.

Retired Morenci administrator Ron Merillat attended the meeting and has offered assistance to the administration.

The board also accepted the resignation of former superintendent Kyle Griffith, effective Feb. 8. Griffith is developing the new Jackson Community College/LISD High School Academy program and will serve as principal.

  • 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.
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    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.
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    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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