The DeKalb County Board of Education unanimously approved the appointment of Kelly Armstrong as the new District 2 Board Member during Tuesday night's board meeting.
Armstrong took the floor, thanking the board for the opportunity to serve DeKalb County Schools.
"I am from Geraldine. I grew up in the area all my life," he said. "I look forward to representing not only Geraldine but Fyffe as well."
Armstrong said he's looking forward to working with the board members.
"I am here to work hard and do whatever I can to help not on the board, students, faculty and parents but everybody in the communities," he said. "I am here to help, and I am ready to go to work."
Board Chairmen Carol Hiett said Armstrong would serve in the position, recently vacant by Chris Andrews for the remaining term.
The District 2 term began in November 2020. Armstrong will serve until November of 2026.
During Tuesday night's work session, the board also heard from resident Chris Graben. Graben spoke about the good character of his father, who applied for the District 2 board position.
Also, during the Tuesday night meeting, DeKalb County Superintendent Wayne Lyles discussed the county's recent staffing shortages due to COVID-19 and their four-day transition to remote learning that began last week.
"Glad to report that [Tuesday] we only have 92 planned or reported absences for [Wednesday]," said Lyles. "That's about half of where we were last week at this time."
He said they plan to continue in-person learning as long as possible with the available staff.
Lyles said they are committed to keeping students and faculty safe on campus. And due to the number of administrators out last week, they were having to double up classes to maintain proper supervision.
"We asked teachers to cover classes in their planning time, whatever they could do to provide proper supervision for our students," he said. "But after three days of that, it became very wearing on our teachers, and I appreciated that they grounded until Wednesday."
Lyles said one thing that always comes to mind when switching out of in-person instruction is how the change will affect parents.
"The last thing I want to do is inconvenience parents or make them lose work time, and I know that makes a difficult situation for some people," He said. "But we went remote because we had to. We don't want people to be in a position where they are losing wages or making it more difficult to make a living."
Lyles said they intend to take care of the students and staff, especially right now when COVID-19 numbers are high in Jackson and DeKalb Counties,
"I urge our parents that if your child is showing COVID-19 related symptoms to notify your school and keep them at home," he said. "If they have been exposed, you need to keep them at home and follow the five-day criteria on that."
The board also:
• approved the school system’s financial statements/general fund bank reconciliation and local school fund balance for November 30, 2021 and January 7, 2022, bill and accounts.
• approved the following bids: Concession and Vending Beverage Contract for Ider High School - Scottsboro Coca-Cola, CNP Vending - VendTek Wholesale Equipment, Inc. - $27,450.00.
• approved the following retirements and resignations: Ricky Butts - maintenance supervisor - District - retirement - 4/1/22, Sandra Treadaway - itinerant special education paraprofessional - Geraldine High School - retirement - 1/1/22, Ariel Johnson - varsity volleyball head coaching duties only - Crossville High School - resignation - 1/5/22, Matthew Allison - itinerant special education paraprofessional - Ider Special Services Center - resignation - 1/13/22, Courtney Waldrop - itinerant special education teacher - Plainview High School - resignation - 1/1/22, Rachel Turvey - CNP worker - Collinsville High School - resignation - 12/17/21, Amanda Moses - itinerant special education paraprofessional - Geraldine High School - resignation - 11/22/21 and Dawn Osborne - special education director - Annex - resignation - 2/7/22.
• approved the leave of absence of Marleni Corona - itinerant translator - District - 12/6/21-1/31/22, Crystal Gladden - itinerant special education teacher - Collinsville High School - 12/6/21-2/28/22 (extension from 1/31/22), Rebecca Jane McClendon - bus driver - Geraldine High School - 8/18/21-6/1/22 (extension from 1/18/22), Cory Amos - English language arts teacher - Crossville High School - 1/3/22-2/25/22 and Christy Cooper - English language arts teacher - Plainview High School - 1/24/22-5/27/22 (intermittent).
• approved the transfer of Ronnie Stiefel - maintenance worker to facilities improvement manager for the District (2021-301), Megan Stone - English language arts teacher to assistant principal (10-month) - Crossville Middle School (2021-317) and April Hughes from assistant custodian (9-month/7-hour) to bus driver at Collinsville High School (2021-332) effective 1/3/22.
• approved the certified placement (All placements are made pending a background review meeting suitability criteria and negative, pre-employment drug screen and appropriate certification): Annabelle Brown - elementary teacher - Plainview High School (2021-288), Allison Davis - itinerant indian education / migrant teacher - District (2021-320), Emilee Blanchett - itinerant special education teacher - Plainview High School (2021-330) (effective 1/3/22), Mallory Stiefel - Pre-K Teacher - Henagar Jr. High School (2021-331) (effective 1/3/22) and Colby Cochran - science teacher (leave from 1/18/22-4/3/22) - Fyffe High School (2021-340).
• approved the support placement of Heather McSpadden - itinerant special education paraprofessional - Geraldine High School (2021-326) (effective 1/3/22), Tera Tatum - CNP worker - Collinsville High School (2021-333), Tammy Miller - bus tech route - Collinsville High School (2021-334), Kaitlyn Knopps - itinerant special education paraprofessional - Geraldine High School (2021-335), Brenda Nash - assistant custodian (9-month/7-hour) - Collinsville High School (2021-339) (effective 1/3/22), Marisol Munoz - EL aide - Crossville Middle School (2022-001), Deondre Woody - Title I aide - Crossville Middle School (2022-001), Nathaniel Pannell - Title I aide - Crossville Middle School (2022-001), Dortha Higgins - Title I aide - Collinsville High School (2022-002), Madelyn Shankles - itinerant special education paraprofessional - Plainview High School (2022-003) (effective 1/18/22) and Sheri Spurgin - itinerant special education paraprofessional - Ider special services center (2022-006).
• approved the following volunteer coaches: Pedro Sierna - Soccer and Sandra Vazquez - Soccer - Collinsville High School, Harley Hicks - Baseball - Jimmy Franco - Boys Soccer - Noel Balcazar - Boys Soccer - Crossville High School - Taylor Freeman - Softball - Todd Dismuke - Softball - Geraldine High School.
• approved the following Summer Program Directors contracts - ESSER 3: Jacob Brown - Collinsville High School, Eric Bryant - Crossville Elementary School, Jodi Buttram - Sylvania High School, Nicole Carroll - Sylvania High School, Leslie Day - Valley Head High School, Lydia Peek - Crossville Elementary School and Melissa Warren - Ruhama Jr. High School.
• approved the following After School Literacy Programs - GEER/ARP ESSER contracts: Diane Church - After School Literacy Teacher Substitute - Plainview High School - GEER, Emily Ferguson - After School Literacy Teacher - Ruhama Jr. High School - GEER, Natasha Hilley - ACT Bootcamp - Crossville High School - Title I, Cia Lindsey - Literacy Teacher - Plainview high School - GEER, Magon McAnelly - Teacher - Crossville High School - ESSER 3 and Emily Moore - Science Teacher - Crossville High School - CHS Title I.
• approved the following Contracts: Patrick Blevins - physical science teacher - Crossville High School - Title I, Ashlie Bryant - science teacher - Crossville High School - Title I, Ashley Croft - paraprofessional - Fyffe Special Services Center - IDEA B, Leah Johnson - bus nurse - Valley Head High School - Local, Anna Naylor - art teacher - Crossville Elementary School - CES Title I and Sonya Smith - data entry aide - Plainview High School - PHS Title I.
• approved the following superintendent’s recommendations, comments and reports:
- permission to place personnel pending board approval.
- announced the upcoming Parenting Partners graduation has changed to Mar. 9, 2022 due to COVID-19.
- congratulated Administrator Jon Bales of Crossville Middle School on winning Teacher of the Month from World’s Finest Chocolate.
– Editor’s note: Look for more information in an upcoming edition of the Times-Journal.
- announced the unveiling of the DeKalb County Technology Center Mascot.
– Editor’s note: Look for more information in an upcoming edition of the Times-Journal.
• The board announced DeKalb County Board members Monty Darwin and Robert Elliott to the Policy and Procedure Committee.
The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2022 with a work session at 4:30 and regular meeting at 5 p.m. in the meeting room of the Facilities Building.