Just the Facts

BOE recognizes top educators, support personnel

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Henrietta Haithcock

The Macon County Board of Education (BOE) held its monthly meeting on Monday, Nov. 27, at East Franklin Elementary School. A diverse range of topics was discussed after the meeting was called to order by Board Chairman Jim Breedlove.

Board members present were Melissa Evans, Diedre Breeden, Hilary Wilkes, and Stephanie Laseter, along with Superintendent Josh Lynch, Personnel Director Todd Gibbs, Finance Officer Angie Cook, Board Attorney John Henning, Jr., Board Clerk Renee Burt and several area education leaders and principals.

Breedlove welcomed attendees and offered a moment of silence before the East Franklin Student Ambassador team led the Pledge of Allegiance. The minutes of the Oct. 16 regularly scheduled meeting were approved without discussion.

EAST FRANKLIN Elementary School students led the recent Board of Education meeting in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Several outstanding Macon County teachers and a Southwestern Community College student merited special accolades.

East Franklin Elementary Assistant Principal Crystal Parker recognized the school’s office manager, Heather Wallace, as Support Person of the Year, and fourth grade teacher, Katy Quiring, as Teacher of the Year.

STEM Coordinator Jennifer Love recognized Macon Middle School math teacher, Patti Elkin, as Outstanding Secondary Mathematics teacher, and Macon Middle School STEM teacher, Bryan Wilkinson, as the District 8 Outstanding Middle School Science Teacher by North Carolina Science Teachers Association.

Each candidate was presented with an original drawing of an apple tree, by Chris Bell, a North Carolina-based fine artist.

Love also recognized Macon Early College student, Hailey Brown, selected as one out of 11 students to participate in the N.C. Flight Crew, which is part of the National Million Girls Moonshot program. Brown also received a Bell apple print, representing the fruit of all teachers, mentors, and family who had nurtured her.

As a part of the meeting’s presentations segment, East Franklin’s counselor Adrianna Bates’ fourth grade leadership team, Ambassadors, sang two Christmas songs, accompanied on the guitar by Summer Brook Morgan [of the professional musical group Summer & Bray], who is an interim music teacher at East Franklin. The team also presented an award for the Best Cookie Decorating Contest among the board members.

THE FOURTH Grade Ambassadors for East Franklin Elementary School performed during the Nov. 27 Macon County Board of Education meeting. They are, (front row, L-R) Stephanie Hernandez Martinez, Esmeralda Sanchez Mendoza, Bentlee Corbin, Kendyl Holland and Matthew Evans; (back row, L-R) Noah Quiring, Isabella Rubio, Matthew Espinoza and Addyson DeTalente.

Partisan School Board?

A discussion ensued at the meeting involving Macon County Commissioners’ consideration regarding political party affiliations for BOE board members. BOE members indicated that they think elections should not be partisan because members represent the community, schools, students and parents.

“We, as a Board of Education, feel that a change is not needed,” said Breedlove. “The method we have used to elect board members has been here since 1968 and produced a cohesive bond that is in the best interest of the students.”

Breedlove asked Henning to draw up a resolution to retain the present process of electing board members before the next meeting on Dec. 11. Henning will present the Resolution in Support of Non-Partisan Elections for approval at the next BOE meeting.

Other business

A new software program with Diligent Community Package was suggested by chief of technology Tim Burrell as a

possible alternative for constructing agendas and meetings, video streaming, and policy documents. The goal is for the software to generate information that can be accessed on the BOE website. The request to try a demonstration of this program was approved.

Gibbs discussed the Interscholastic Men’s Volleyball Club teams. He explained that the FHS volleyball coaches would like to see men’s volleyball become a North Carolina High School Athletic Association sport. Grant monies are offered by N.C. Region USA Volleyball to get the clubs started. The club would be open for students attending FHS, Nantahala School, and Highlands School to participate in the spring.

Buildings and grounds concerns were also addressed by Gibbs, who informed that county commissioners want to explore the subterranean water system for Nantahala School. Principals will meet with Gibbs to discuss and find a solution to this issue since it affects the school’s daily operations.

Gibbs reported that the request-for-quote (RFQ) submissions for the new Macon Middle School track are due by Friday, Dec. 1, at which time a committee will be formed to choose one track designer and specs for the replacement. County commissioners will decide on the bid.

Finally, Gibbs explained that the East Franklin Elementary School gymnasium floor needs repairing.

“Floorboards have bubbled up due to water buildup under the flooring, making it unusable in spots,” he said. An estimate of $22,550 was provided by a specialist to repair the floor, but the work may not be accomplished until after the new year.

The next school board meeting will be held at Franklin High School on Monday, Dec. 11. For individuals who cannot attend in person, meetings are livestreamed at www.macon.k12.nc.us.

Haithcock is a children’s book author. She wrote “The Secret Life of Mr. Brownie” and contributed to the latest edition of the locally published Suminski Family Books’ Animal Stories series. She shares this story as a read-aloud for families this Christmas.