Morenci school board 07.14.2010

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

All of the laid-off staff members are returning to Morenci classrooms in September, but one administrator will be missing.

Middle school principal Kay Johnson had decided not to return to her administrative post, however, she intends to continue as softball coach.

Johnson served as a physical education teacher for most of her lengthy career with Morenci schools but was appointed interim middle school principal in 1995.

She retired in 2007 after 35 years with the district, but was immediately rehired to continue serving as principal.

High school principal Nate Parker will take on a new role as principal for both schools, covering grades five through 12, but he will have some help.

“We’re looking at what additional staff will be needed,” said superintendent Michael Osborne.

The district is still without an athletic director and an assistant principal job could be tied in with that position, Osborne said. Administrators will continue to explore options while cutting costs through the change in principal duties.

Sixteen staff members received layoff notices in April, but all were recalled at the  school board meeting Monday.

The board voted to recall teachers Jesse Bach, Matt Bostick, Kelly Bush, Jamie DeVoe, Keith Filipek, Paula Grieder, Ashley Joughin and Chris Mansfield; paraprofessionals Lisa Acuña, Heather Dilworth, Amy Schmidt and Brandon VanEtten; cooks Rebecca Davis and Ronda McCaskey; and bus drivers Gwenda Eichler and April Shaffer.

“We know who we will start the year with,” Osborne said, but that doesn’t mean cuts won’t follow.

When enrollment dropped more than expected last September, staff reductions were made in late November at the end of the first trimester.

Osborne said his goal is always to make staff adjustments during the summer and avoid cuts once school is underway, but state aid reductions and enrollment changes don’t always allow that.

OFFICERS—School board officers will remain the same for the next year: Scott Merillat, president; Carrie Dillon, vice president; Cyndee Sanders, secretary; Gary Ries, treasurer.

Committee assignments are: Dillon and Ivy Hutchison, curriculum; Phil McCaskey and Dillon, building and site; Dwight Mansfield and Ries, finance; Sanders and McCaskey, personnel.

The board will continue to meet at 7 p.m. on the first Monday of the month with three exceptions. Meetings are scheduled Sept. 13, Jan. 10 and April 11.

COACH—Shana Love was approved as JV volleyball coach for the 2010-11 school year.

POLICIES—Merillat suggested appointing a policy review committee at the next board meeting.

“Some of our current policies we aren’t following,” he said, and the board needs to decide which ones it wants to retain or change.

  • 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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