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Pell City Superintendent gives annual school report

Pell City Board of Education 2020-24 teaser

The Pell City Board of Education for 2020-24 was sworn in Tuesday, Nov. 17. The board includes incumbents Joe Sawyer, Cecil Fomby and Laurie Henderson along with newly elected members Greg Crump and Norman Wilder.

PELL CITY — Pell City Superintendent Dr. James Martin formally presented his annual report to the Pell City Board of Education during their Tuesday meeting. 

Martin said the report is the second he has produced since taking the helm of the school system in 2019. Martin said the purpose of the report is to give an overview of the year for the school including financial information, accomplishments and finished or ongoing capital projects. 

“This is pretty much what we have done this year in our school system,” Martin said. “That's more or less what you would say is the state of our schools right now.”

Martin specifically pointed out the naming of Dr. Andrew Jackson as last year's Alabama Teacher of the Year and the long awaited completion of Pell City High School’s running track. The track had seen several delays throughout the final months of 2019 and portions of 2020 because of first the discovery of a protected wetland near the site, then the pandemic, and then particularly wet weather. The project was finally finished this past April. 

“Thank goodness I can actually put a completed high school track in our annual report instead of one under construction,” Martin joked to the board. 

The report also offers a small overview of the Duran Junior High expansion project which looks to consolidate seventh and eight grade students into a single school. The board, along with other local officials and State Representative Randy Wood, broke ground on the expansion May 26. The report says the expansion is planned to be completed in 2022. 

The report also included student achievement and demographic information, though it and Martin note that the achievement and accountability date is all from the 2018-2019 school year. The report lists the reason for this is the waiver of the testing requirement for student accountability that the United States Department of Education gave Alabama in the spring of 2020 and 2021.

Martin gave the same reason for the lack of new data, but said some of the factors are being prepared for the annual data report that School Improvement and Federal Programs Director Dr. Kristin Harrell is working to prepare. An early version of this report was presented to the board Tuesday but Martin said still had some numbers that needed certification by the Alabama Board of Education before wider release. 

Harrell said the report is meant to give data on most aspects of the system’s operations so that the central office and the board can look at positive and negative trends as they develop. 

“Not only does it explain the data or showcase the data, it also explains what are the positive trends, what are the negative trends, what are we wanting to do for the future and what are our next steps based on those plans,” Harrell said.

Martin said he hopes the data report, which he said has been an ambitious project, will be completed and released by the middle of September. He said with it and the annual report he hopes to increase the level of transparency in the system.

“We want to be as open as possible,” he said. 

In other matters, the board:

—Approved hiring Michel Haney (teacher at Williams Intermediate School), Amy Walker (special education teacher at Eden Elementary School), Sandy Missildine (english teacher at Duran South Jr. High School), Carla Simmons (business education teacher at Duran South), Olivia Meeks (fourth grade teacher at Walter M. Kennedy Elementary School), Emily Doty (teacher at Coosa Valley Elementary School), James Nabors (physical education teacher at Duran South Jr.), Benjamin Chad Spradley (history teacher at Pell City High School), David Kline (sixth grade history teacher at Williams Intermediate School);

—Approved contracts with April Carter, Brandon Milam, Cedric Jordan, Debbie Roberts, Michelle Perry, Michaela Young, Tara McBurnett, Aaron Ross Burks, Stephen Barnett, Sondra Dile, Teresa Triplett Gregory, Wendy Latham, David Adams, Wendy Wilson and Lisa Rhinehart as Teacher Excellence and Accountability for Mathematics and Science program teachers;

—Approved contracts with Rhonda Nolin (contract special education teacher), Monique Bowman (contract history teacher for PCHS), Douglas Bibb (adjunct instructor in health science (sports medicine) at PCHS), Steven Bart Smith (adjunct Instructor for welding), Janette Smith (adjunct instructor for certified nursing assistant), Sid Brown (music teacher at Williams and PCHS), Dr. Jessica Popham (adjunct instructor for introduction to pharmacy at PCHS), Susannah Herring (contract whole child coach for elementary schools), Maurice (Mo) Williams (contract whole child coach for fifth through eighth grade), Lisa Pope (contract whole child coach for PCHS), Amanda Wright (contract title 1 interventionist), April Donahoo (contract title 1 interventionist), Cindy Joiner (contract title 1 interventionist), Denise Holdridge contract title 1 interventionist), Lori Billingsley (contract title 1 interventionist), Patsy Flournoy (to provide instructional services for English Language Learner students) and Rebecca Jackson (to provide instruction and support to secondary English Language Learners);

—Approved contract amendments to include 50 additional hours for Christina (Dee) Doss and Shea Reynolds because of a high volume of students participating in summer school;

—Approved the hiring of Betty Jo Gilmore (substitute teacher), Carla Slovensky (substitute teacher) and William David Moore (substitute bus driver);

—Approved resignations of  Sarah Naramore (english teacher at Duran South), Jon Kresena (teacher at Williams Intermediate), Pamela Johnston (fourth grade teacher at Kennedy), Greg Pernell (physical education teacher at Duran South), Beth Ferguson (speech pathologist system wide), Lisa Bynum (child nutrition program worker at Eden);

—Approved transfers of Renee Lee (from CNP worker at PCHS to acting CNP manager at Duran South Jr. High School) Christina Henderson (from special education teacher assistant at Eden to CNP worker at Williams Intermediate) and Ragina Graham (from bookkeeper at Duran North and South to bookkeeper at PCHS);

—Approved reassignment of Kristen Atwood (from elementary teacher at Coosa Valley to title 1 teacher at Coosa Valley);

— Approved adding a tumbling/competition coach supplemental position at Duran South Jr. High School, at 8 supplemental points beginning with the 2021-2022 school year;

—Approved amending the First Class Pre-K auxiliary teacher's salary to $20,400.00 (an increase of  $400.00). This will bring the salary up to the minimum salary required for all public and non- public school auxiliary teachers. Increase will be effective for the 2021-2022 school year.

— Approved accounts payable for the month of June in the amount of $440,931.33;

—Heard from Pastor Donald Gover that local churches will be holding a day of prayer for schools on August 8;

—Martin informed the board that there will likely be a called meeting next week to approve a resolution to submit for the tax millage increase referendum.

Taylor Mitchell, Daily Home reporter covering Pell City.