Skip to content

OC teachers presented with ‘GIFTS’

OC teachers presented with ‘GIFTS’

Posted: Tuesday, October 7, 2008 9:58 pm
By: Chris Menees Messenger Staff Reporter


Messenger Staff Reporter

Several innovative teachers received some special “GIFTS” at Monday night’s Obion County School Board meeting.

The monthly board meeting, held in the library at Hillcrest Elementary School in Troy, was highlighted by the distribution of the annual GIFTS — Grants Inspire Flexible Teaching Strat-egies — grants.

Teachers across Obion County had applied for the grants, made available through an endowment created by the late Elmo (Short) Worley in honor of her sister, the late Madge Short, who had dedicated her life to teaching and was a longtime educator in the former Samburg and Hornbeak schools.

The grants are administered through the Community Foun-dation of Obion County.

In presenting 15 grants, local attorney Jimmy Smith, who also serves as vice chairman of the Obion County School Board, said teachers are given the opportunity to write grants to do something “special and unique” that they otherwise could not do without funding.

Smith said there were 45 applicants this year, noting that “more and more” teachers apply each year. The applications are reviewed by independent judges from outside the county.

The endowment is now at almost $300,000, according to Smith, who said the 15 grants being awarded this year total $13,963 — bringing the total awarded since the program began five years ago to just under $90,000. He said the total will exceed the $100,000 mark next year.

Smith said he believes Mrs. Worley and Miss Short would be very pleased with the effort.

Smith also noted that a considerable number of technology-related grants were awarded in the program’s early years but said the school board is now meeting teachers’ technology needs through other avenues. The GIFTS grants are continuing to allow innovative, primarily non-technology programs for the classroom.

This year’s GIFTS grants recipients include:

• Jessica Kirk, a teacher at Hillcrest Elementary, for “Balanced Literacy Guided Reading, $1,091.20;

• Alisha Hedge, a teacher at South Fulton Elementary, for “The Sound of Music,” $876.19;

• Shannon Preuett, a teacher at Hillcrest, for “Word Building/Vocabulary Acquisition Made Fun,” $1,062.57;

• Darla Bearden, a teacher at Hillcrest, for “Scintillating Science Scenarios for the Scholar,” $1,869.95;

• Tena Thompson, a teacher at Black Oak Elementary, for “Prosperity is Just Around the Corner,” $749.97;

• Kathy Lynch, a teacher at Black Oak, for “Differentiated Instruction for Emergent Readers and Writers,” $1,134;

• Deanna Wilson, a teacher at Hillcrest, for “I’ll Take Knowledge for $500 Please,” $1,109.96;

• Sherry Griffin, a teacher at Hillcrest, for “The Wright Group,” $899.30, and “Let Me Sing and Read to You!”, $552.29;

• Jennifer Kerr, a teacher at Hillcrest, for “Are You An Eggspert?”, $559.99;

• Annette Ferguson, a teacher at Ridgemont Elementary, for “Bacon, Eggs and Toast,” $730.88;

• Dawn Ramsey, a teacher at Hillcrest, for “Reading Across the Curriculum,” $800;

• Elaine Barnett, a teacher at Hillcrest, for “Young Scientists,” $1,224; and

• Kelly Rea, a teacher at Hillcrest, for “Create Your Own Culture,” $599.86, and “Energy Explorers,” $702.84.

In other action during Monday night’s hour-long meeting, which was opened with prayer led by board member Diane Sanderson, the school board:

• Approved a consent agenda that included monthly personnel, substitute teacher and financial reports.

The personnel report lists the hiring of Joyce Gibson as a special education assistant through the West Tennessee School for the Deaf; a leave of absence for Hillcrest teacher Shiloh Leake; a transfer for Cynthia Rainey to the Alternative School at the Career Technology Center; and the addition of food service substitutes Mariah Burress, Traci Bing, Rebecca Bennett, Lisa Morris, Tina Brogglin, Jennifer Fulcher, Joan McClain, Sheila Baggett, Darla Hale, Nikki Elks and Betty Crick.

The substitute teacher list for the month includes the addition of Sandy Batchelor.

• Accepted a bid for the guaranteed maximum price for the construction of eight elementary school classrooms, contingent upon review by Obion County Director of Schools David Huss and his final approval. Some discussion is continuing with the firm of Lashlee-Rich in regard to one issue.

Representatives of Lashlee-Rich who were on hand at the meeting said the substantial completion schedule for the project is Aug. 31, 2009, with construction starting almost immediately.

• Recognized the receipt of a gift of an AED (defibrillator) from the Union City Kiwanis Club.

Heather Kendall, director of the school system’s Coordinated School Health program, said the AED was received about two weeks ago and is valued at about $1,500. The device will be placed at Obion County Central High School.

Mrs. Kendall said the school system is also in the process of developing a required policy for the use of AEDs.

Obion County School Board chairman Roger Williams said board members need to express their appreciation to the Kiwanis Club, which he said does a lot of good in the community.

• Approved the annual school system/school compliance report and the annual certification of compliance for furnishing the required textbooks.

• Approved the appointment of members to the Textbook Adoption Committee. They include teachers Stacy Arnett, Patti May, Sandy Simpson, Annette Ferguson and Pat Hall for science, grades K-5; Richard Lynn, Stacy Gray, Kelly Preuett, Allison McMinn and Kelly Rea for science, grades 6-8; Pam Kangelos, Marion Pitts, Denise Mathis, Chuck Seratt and Lori Martin for science, grades 9-12; Katie Gray, Amy Montgomery and Michele Bruner for family and consumer science; Bill Kail, Shawn Jackson, Kelly Spivey and Pam Daniel for health/wellness; and Bryant Driver, Russ Davis and James Faulkner for agriculture.

• Approved bids for the purchase of technology equipment for a classroom presentation project for the current school year, a local grant of funds to complement the GIFTS grants. After a review of teacher applications from each school, the schools to receive technology equipment for instruction in classrooms include Black Oak, Hillcrest, Lake Road and South Fulton elementary schools, seven classrooms each; and Ridgemont, two classrooms.

The bids received were actually slightly less than estimated and will total $1,064.74 per classroom for a total of $31,942.20 for the 30 classrooms.

• Approved a request from Lake Road Elementary and its Parent-Teacher Organization to plant trees and display plaques in memory of two former students who died in a traffic accident.

• Approved an amendment to board policy regarding the community use of school facilities. The amendment adds an exception to the policy for incorporated student youth athletic organizations that are in compliance with the administrative procedure addressing such organizations.

• Approved four overnight student trips, including those for the OCCHS Health Occupations Students of America, South Fulton High School’s FFA, South Fulton Middle School’s Beta Club and South Fulton High School’s Beta Club.

• Approved a re-bid for a computer tablet project at South Fulton High School. The board learned the company chosen for the project was unable to provide the equipment in the manner needed and the project was re-bid. The new bidder is providing the necessary computers for $1,099 each, $100 less than the previous bid. The new bid also covers similar equipment for special education and Hillcrest.

• Expressed appreciation to school system technology coordinator Darbin Ousley and assistant technology coordinator Jason Kendall for their efforts in helping the school system go “paperless” at its board meetings. Monday night’s meeting marked the first session where board members used laptop computers to review reports instead of being given printed packets of information.

Each month’s agenda and related paperwork are also now available to the public online at the school system’s Web site at

Monday night’s meeting was preceded by a new employee reception and entertainment provided by Hillcrest’s fourth-graders.

Board member Glynn Giffin was absent from the session.

Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by e-mail at
Published in The Messenger 10,7,.08

Leave a Comment