New Albany School Board Meeting

The New Albany School Board meeting began with New Albany Mayor Tim Kent administering the oath of office to Board Member Mr. Bobby Gault.

Gault was reappointed for five years on the board. He was appointed by the city of New Albany Board of Aldermen. He has been reappointed six times and this year begins his 33rd year. Gault is a New Albany school board member and a member on the state school board.

President Jerry Tate handed over his reign to newly appointed President Dr. Jason Dees. Tate now holds no office, but remains as a board member and past president. The newly appointed vice president is Bernice Bailey and the newly appointed secretary is Bobby Gault. Fred Rogers and Cathy McClinton has served as past presidents and they remain as board members. McClinton is net in line to become president.

According to New Albany School Superintendent Charles Garrett, he said, “It has been an ongoing tradition for many years to serve in a rotational system so everybody serves a term of president, vice-president, and secretary.”

Everyone serves a one year term from March to February.

“Having graduated from here, it is always nice to be able to come back and serve. It is always an honor. I am excited to be able to give back and I am excited to work with a district like New Albany. We have superior performance schools and good leadership and great community support. People believe in public education here and they are willing to sacrifice to make our schools better for our kids,” said Dees.

Next, special presentations were held. Assistant School Superintendent Jackie Ford and President Dr. Dees presented a plaque to New Albany Elementary School (NAES) Parent of the Year Jennie Davis.

Davis said, “It is a big honor and I appreciate it very much.”

Ford and Dees also presented New Albany Middle School (NAMS) and Districts Parents of the Year Michael and Pam Brown with a plaque.

Michael Brown said, “It is not just Pam and I that make the good decisions; it is the whole community that make a difference.”

In the Superintendent’s Report, Garrett talked about the New Albany School’s vision and motto.

Garrett said, “It has been five years since we created the vision, motto, and mission and I think we need to review it and see if there is anything we need to  change.”

The vision statement reads, “New Albany Schools…Leading the way for excellence in education.”

“I think that was an outstanding vision and motto that we put together. It is one that you hear administrators say a lot,” said Garrett.

The mission statement reads, “The mission of the New Albany School District is to nurture the personal development of students, to educate all students in a safe and disciplined environment, to provide a learning climate that is conducive to a high level of student achievement, and to instill in both staff and students pride in themselves, their schools, and the City of New Albany.”

Garrett said, “We thought that fit us so well and we do want our students to have pride in themselves. We want them to come back to New Albany and be a part and give back like so many of you have done. I think that mission has served us well and I think a lot of people will make a lot of decisions based on what is in that mission. It has served the purpose of guiding us through a lot of what we have done.”

Due to low enrollment and registration numbers, the board approved the discontinuance of the Co-Op program with the School of Career and Technical Education.

According to the School of Career and Technical Education Web site, “This program is designed for students to receive classroom instructions and part time on-the-job training related to one of a variety of occupations. Students enrolled in this class must have a job and work fifteen hours a week.”

“We really want to provide a program that will draw a large number of students and this just hasn’t done it. Enrollment for that program has been pretty low and registration has not been very strong for the last several years. We have permission from the Mississippi Department of Education’s Office of Vocational Education to take the next school year to look for another option,” said Garrett.

Ford said, “The state has agreed to let us hold this classroom and give us some time to figure out what we are going to do. One program that we kind of looked is called Digital Media, an Apple computer-based lab. The state would pay for the entire lab, which is somewhere around $150,000. There is one in the state that has one. It is at Hinds Community College, Rankin branch.”

Dr. Garrett will travel to this branch next week and look at their Digital Media computer lab.

Dees said, “As a Mac convert, if we can somehow pull that off, I think that student enrollment would be high. That is the computer of choice for that generation and I think as we look to expand our vocational offerings and interests, that that would be a way to get students involved.”

Next, Gault gave the Mississippi School Board Association report. He said, “We do not know yet the status of the stimulus package.”

In the information agenda, the board approved Lori Henson working as a long term substitute for Jennifer Hogue due to maternity leave and Joyce Morrison working as a long term substitute for Bailey King due to maternity leave.

In the personnel agenda, the board approved the following: recommendation to accept resignation of Hnery Burchette with Maintenance Heat/Air due to retirement, recommendation to accept the resignation of Debbie Rowland as assistant teacher at NAES, NAES late stay workers, additions to the substitute list, recommendation to hire Neely Robertson as New Albany High School Assistant Cheer Coach replacing Samantha Morris, recommendation to hire Julie Eaton as NAMS yearbook co-sponsor to split supplement pay replacing Jo Cousar, and the recommendation to hire Kate Swords as NAMS yearbook co-sponsor to split supplement pay replacing Jo Cousar.

The next board meeting will be held on Monday, April 6, 2009 at 5:30 p.m.