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.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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    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.
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    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.
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    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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