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James Zhang will be serving as interim dean of Western Carolina University’s Kimmel School of Construction Management and Technology, effective Monday, Aug. 1.

Currently associate dean of the Kimmel School, Zhang will fill a vacancy created by the upcoming departure of the current dean, Robert McMahan, who recently was named the new president of Kettering University in Flint, Mich.

Kettering University, formerly General Motors University, is known for its topranked undergraduate programs in engineering, mathematics, science and business, Beth Tyson Lofquist, WCU interim provost, said in announcing the Kimmel School leadership changes.

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Despite bipartisan support among the county’s state legislators, two bills that would grant Macon County Schools additional teaching allotments for its two K-12 schools seem to have stalled in committee.

Senate Bill 733, sponsored by Sen. Jim Davis (R-Franklin) and House Bill 815, sponsored by Representatives Phil Haire (DSylva) and Roger West (R-Marble), were both introduced in the spring session. Both bills were referred from their originating committee to other committees in the chamber, and both are technically still under consideration.

Of the three non-alternative, K-12 public schools in the state of North Carolina, two are in Macon County – Nantahala School and Highlands School. Both schools are in remote areas of the county, separated from other schools in the district by mountainous terrain.

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Two Macon County schools and two Jackson County schools must offer parents the choice to transfer their children to neighboring schools as determined by the recently released preliminary Adequate Yearly Progress Reports (AYP).

The preliminary AYP results for the 2010- 2011 school year show that only seven out of the 11 schools in the Macon County district and five out of the nine schools in the Jackson County district made their AYP goals.

In Macon County, Mountain View Intermediate, Macon Middle, East Franklin and Nantahala School did not meet all of the target goals, or subgroups, needed to make the AYP.

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State judge denies request of petitioners to scrap Macon County’s alternative calendar

Though some kids may be disappointed to hear it, public school in Macon County will start next week as planned. A state judge has denied the request for a preliminary injunction which would have scrapped plans to begin classes in the county on Aug. 4.

On Tuesday, State Administrative Law Judge Joe L. Webster denied the request of the petitioners to delay the start of school until Aug. 25, the statewide legal start date required of all schools in the state without a special waiver.

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