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Teachers of the Year named at board meeting

Teachers of the Year named at board meeting
Teachers of the Year named at board meeting | Weakley County School Board, Randy Frazier

WCSB members Steven Vantrease, Sarah Ann Pentecost, director of schools Randy Frazier, chairman Gordon Morris
The Weakley County School Board honored their teachers of the year at a meeting Thursday at Dresden Middle School.
Charlene Alsup, who presented the awards, praised the peer-selected recipients for exemplifying “excellence, dedication, and a real talent for working with students.” According to Alsup, the Tennessee Teacher of the Year program, sponsored by the state’s Department of Education and the Niswonger Foundation, is “designed to promote recognition, respect and appreciation for teachers.”
Teacher recipients are selected through five increasingly competitive cycles: building, system, field service center region, grand division and state. Nine finalists are eventually honored at a banquet in Nashville, including some from Weakley County in recent years. The board honored local representatives of the building and system cycles Thursday night.
The honorees at the building level were Heather Hodges, Gail Muzzall, Johnna Taylor, April Fischel, Emily Perry and Laura Plunk from the PreK-4 category; Lynn Brasfield, Kay Hudson, Tori Liggett, Robin Pape, Judy Todd and Suzy Church from the 5-8 category; and Karen Rickman, Sandy Bennett, Michelle Medling and Debbie Kerley from the 9-12 category. Plunk, Hudson and Medling were also selected to be the county’s system level representatives.
Following the presentation of awards, the board heard information from Debbie Doster regarding the adoption of literature textbooks. Doster explained that the books the county had chosen to purchase were under review from the state for not adequately covering the common core curriculum.
Doster also noted that boards around the state were waiting to select the same text and it had already been approved by teachers.
“Our teachers have looked page by page through those books. They like what they see. They do see where they correlate. There are gaps,” Doster said.
Since the publisher had promised to make changes and the state board promised to review the texts again in January 2013, Doster recommended withholding distribution of new literature textbooks until the school year beginning August 2013.
Director of schools Randy Frazier advised the board they could “set aside a reserve fund specifically for those books in the next year, which would not affect our purchases for the next year.” Frazier estimated more than $100,000 would need to be reserved.
The board unanimously approved a motion to postpone purchase of the texts and to fortify the stock of existing literature books with used purchases until 2013.
At the close of the meeting, Frazier updated the board concerning lawsuits pending against the Weakley County school system.
The board received a partial ruling in the Morris special education hearing that has been pending for just over a year. The suit was returned to the administrative law judge to determine if the evaluation of the case had been conducted properly. Frazier expressed confidence that “we’re probably going to win the lawsuit in total” if the judge answered affirmatively. Frazier estimated at least six months until a final ruling in that case.
A dismissal hearing date was set for the Moody vs. Barber suit at 9:30 a.m. April 26 in the Weakley County courtroom.
A similar suit, Moody vs. Weakley County/GCA, was dismissed by a judge earlier last week, but an appeal was anticipated.
Frazier informed the board the county’s Finance Ways and Means Committee voted 6-0 for the Board of Education to absorb the cost of legal fees in the suit named against the county. Part of the fees have already been paid, but Frazier anticipated $55,000 to $60,000 more would be required.
The Weakley County School Board will meet again at the Greenfield School at 5 p.m. May 3.

WCP 4.10.12

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