School district gives awards
The Emery School District Board of Education honored their retirees from the district at their June budget meeting. Kirk Sitterud, superintendent, jokingly said the four retirees had enough and were retiring. He thanked them for their faithful service and said they would be missed. He presented each one with a clock remarking it was not enough for their service to the school children of this county. The retirees included: JJ Grant: 30 years with the Emery District and two years in Montana. He taught at Green River High School and San Rafael Junior High, and was the principal at San Rafael. For the past 11 years he has been the supervisor of secondary education at the district level. "He has been a great asset to me in the district office and I have depended on his expertise," said Sitterud.
For the last 11 years with declining enrollment the school district has faced many challenges.
LeRoy Maxfield is retiring after 16 years with the district, 12 years with the maintenance program and four years as the supervisor of the maintenance department. Sitterud said the maintenance of the school grounds and buildings is of vital importance. The school buildings are no longer new and their upkeep is a challenge. "We have a highly skilled crew and will miss LeRoy very much," said Sitterud.
Sandra Jeffs is retiring as an elementary educator after 21 years, 20 at Cottonwood and one year at Castle Dale. Sitterud said in all the years he worked at Cottonwood there was never one complaint about Mrs. Jeffs which is a high complement for a teacher.
Paulette Kelly is retiring after 21 years at Huntington Elementary. She worked as an educational assistant with the title one program for five years and the remainder as the school librarian.
"The support staff in the schools is very valuable, combined these retirees have 88 years of service. There is not any more important work in life than to influence children and we appreciate you and wish you well," said Sitterud.
Sitterud presented awards for the employees of the year. James Nelson is a teacher at Emery High and Sitterud said in talking to students JR is always listed as a favorite teacher. Nelson has been with the Emery district for 30 years and spent three years at San Juan.
He has taught well over 5,000 students and has been a coach and advisor. Sitterud said that Nelson is the only teacher who complains about the summer break. He loves being in the class room with the students. JR wants to teach forever and always jokes they will have to carry him out of the school in a pine box.
Olive McArthur a custodian at Canyon View Junior High is the support staff employee of the year. "She has touched the lives of thousand of students. She takes pride in the way the school looks. She not only keeps it clean but she decorates the school. Olive has an altruistic character and keeps the school beautiful and homey. She turns ordinary days into events.
"Olive carries out many random acts of kindness. She makes the school a better place to live and work. During the Crandall Canyon mine disaster, Olive very rarely left the school. She helped facilitate the care of the families," said Sitterud. He read portions of a letter prepared by school principal Larry Davis.
Jared Black, business administrator, gave a budget presentation to the board. A public hearing was held on the budget. Black said there are only two years left on the debt service. The board accepted the budget.
Sitterud spoke a little about performance bonuses, one time money appropriated by the legislature. The district is working out an assessment system to distribute the money to teachers who apply and meet certain criteria.
Sitterud asked the board to accept two letters of resignation from employees, Julie Seamons from the Ferron Elementary library and Bandi Olsen, teacher at Cleveland Elementary.
The board also approved the withdrawal of a letter of resignation from Jane Williams the English teacher at Green River High. She will remain in that position. Gwen Callahan was approved as the supervisor of secondary education to replace JJ Grant and she will start Aug. 1. Kerry Lake will replace LeRoy Maxfield beginning immediately as the maintenance supervisor. The board approved Chris Bell as the new head volleyball coach at Emery High.
The school board approved the funding for the new student built home for the 08-09 school year. They currently have an offer on the current house for $150,000.
Black said he made a mistake on the time of the Green River board meeting on the meeting schedule and will advertise it again at the correct time of 5 p.m.
The board gave their approval for disposal of surplus property of two buses and two cars.
The board opened the bids for the Emery High auditorium lighting bid. The original system is from the early 80s and it's hard to find parts for the fixtures. The board approved Oasis to do the project and they will begin the project in August just after opening institute. The lighting in the auditorium will be down for a month to complete the new lighting project.
The school board raised the price of breakfast at the schools by 10 cents. Lunch will raise by 10 cents at the elementaries and by 15 cents at the junior highs and high schools.
Sitterud reported the business office of the school district received an excellence in reporting award from the state office of education.
The district is looking for a family consumer science teacher for Green River High School. They are also looking for a full-time and part-time kindergarten teachers. Educational assistants are also needed and maintenance department openings.
Sitterud reported the state is headed for a teacher shortage.
In the next five years one third of the teachers in the county will retire and these positions are getting harder to fill.