With the new school year in full swing in Macon County, its Board of Education got down to business by awarding educators, supporting programs and beginning its search for a new superintendent.
The board recognized Tolly Bowles, of South Macon Elementary, as Principal of the Year. “I am honored and humbled,” said Bowles.
Rita Esterwood, of Franklin High School, was recognized as Teacher of the year. Esterwood was not present for the meeting, so the board said that they would present her with the award at a later time.
Carolyn Anderson, who has worked at East Franklin Elementary since 1994, was also awarded Support person of the Year.
Rachel’s Challenge Request Approved
Officer Mike Jolly, of the Highlands Police Department, requested clearance for the department to present the Rachel’s Challege antibullying program to Highlands students.
Earlier this year, the program was presented to students throughout the county as part of a joint effort between the Macon County Sheriff’s Office and Board of Education to raise awareness about the dangers of bullying. The program is based on the diary of Rachel Scott, the first person killed in the Columbine tragedy. By revealing excerpts from Rachel’s diary, along with sharing testimonies from her friends and family, the program aims to teach students the importance of kindness and compassion.
“I think it’s an excellent program,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Jim Duncan.
The board unanimously granted the HPD permission to present the program to Highlands School, with Jim Breedlove motioning and Tommy Baldwin seconding.
Next, the board recognized Samuel Wallace, graduate of Franklin High School and Western Carolina University freshman, for his internship with Drake Enterprises as an audio/video technical student. Wallace presented a video he had produced to the board, explaining the benefits of an extracurricular internship for students seeking to make a career in the field of their choice.
In the video, Wallace explained that he was given an opportunity to make a 30-second promotional advertisement for Drake’s www.1040.com website. The video was played and was met by uproarious laughter by those in attendance. Wallace was given a paid internship for his efforts. In the presentation, he encouraged students to pursue college internships.
Superintendent Results Presented
Leanne Winner, director of Government Relations for the state School Boards Association, presented to the board the results of its Superintendent Survey. The survey asked the public and educators what qualities they would like their next superintendent to bring to the table, as former superintendent Dr. Dan Brigman left Macon County last June for a position in Catawba County schools.
The survey polled 88 people from the community and the 243 members from the Macon County public school system.
It is now up to the board to pick the qualities they feel will best serve the local school system. Their opinions will, along with the survey, be turned into “an instrument” by the NCSBA for the board to use during the application process.
Former FHS Principal and current School Board member Gary Shields said that the following qualities identified in the survey are most important to him; a superintendent with ideas and approaches to close achievement gaps; a history as a successful principal, experience with building, maintaining and managing schools, history as an effective classroom teacher and experience working in the North Carolina public school system. “Those would be the core,” Shields said of his opinion on the qualities he desires in a superintendent. Baldwin said that he agreed with Shields.
Fellow member Stephanie McCall said that she felt the next superintendent should have strong people skills, regular communication with community groups (citing Macon County’s strong sense of community), experience in school finance, public accessibility, mindful of career politics, awareness of technology in the classroom, a developed philosophy on school testing and a vested interest in extracurricular activities, such as sports and student organizations. “Leadership starts at the top,” she remarked.
Tommy Cabe said that he would like to see a strong superintendent. “We’ve got to have a superintendent that knows he’s ‘top dog’ and will stand up to principals and knows his job,” he said.
Breedlove said that he liked the comments in the survey made by the public and added that Macon County needs a superintendent “that’s familiar with our culture and where we live.”
The board has set aside 18 applications for review and a closed session meeting will be held to refine the search. Winner recommended “no less than five and no more than 12” applicants should be considered. “Anywhere between seven and ten is good,” she added.
The school board will hold its closed session on Sept. 13 at 4 p.m.
Event requests approved
The board granted a number of event requests for principals from various schools.
The board approved South Macon’s PTO fundraiser with Jaxco, to be held from Sept. 7 to 18.
A donut sale to purchase outfits for the MMS Cheerleading squad was approved, with the sale to begin at the end of August. The school’s cross country team’s annual spaghetti dinner at Gondola’s was also approved. The dinner includes spaghetti,salad and garlic bread. The cost is $20 per plate with proceeds funding the cross country program.
Macon Early College was given permission to pick up litter along Siler Road on Sunday, Sept. 16, as they have recently adopted the road as part of the Adopt-A-Highway program. On this day, students in reflective orange vests will break up into teams and clean portions of the road under adult supervision. According to the request, Sunday was chosen because traffic would be at its lowest as the SCC and MEC campuses are closed, along with the public library.
The board went to closed session at 8 p.m. to discuss personnel and finance matters.
Following the executive session, Zandee Hoglen was approved as a non-certified substitute position for Macon Early College, effective Aug. 28, 2012.
Twenty-five-hundred dollars from Capital Outlay, from the sale of the old Cartoogechaye school is to be allocated to purchase roofing materials for baseball dugouts at MMS. The labor will be donated.
Finance Officer Angie Cook gave a Current Expense Update. She stated that, based on current expenditures, the Macon County School System will be $550,000 short by the end of this school year.