Board of Education shuffles following resignation

Katie Ellington/News Clear Fork district treasurer Bradd Stevens, left, swears in new board member Gary McCue at the board's regular meeting Monday.

Katie Ellington/Mount Vernon News

Clear Fork district treasurer Bradd Stevens, left, swears in new board member Gary McCue at the board’s regular meeting Monday. Request this photo

 

BELLVILLE — The Clear Fork Valley Local Schools board of education appointed a new board member at its Monday meeting.

Gary McCue was chosen from three applicants to fill the seat that opened following the resignation of former board president Kyle Beveridge. McCue will serve as a member of the school board for an appointed term that will expire at the end of 2019.

Beveridge abruptly resigned last month. In his letter of resignation, Beveridge stated that he was stepping down to preserve his integrity and due to his health and family ties in the community.

His resignation came days after a representative from the teachers’ union announced that members had passed a vote of no confidence in Beveridge’s leadership and integrity. The Butler Village Council had also announced that it had decided to halt all further communication with Beveridge regarding the possibility of the middle and high school tapping into the village’s new wastewater treatment plant. Butler mayor Joe Stallard said the village was still willing to work with the district, but not with Beveridge.

Beveridge defended his integrity, and told the News that it was the school board that had acted unethically.

“I don’t need this. My business doesn’t need it. My family doesn’t need it,” said Beveridge regarding his resignation.

In a letter presented to the school board last month, Beveridge stated that he had “only the BEST interests of my community and school district in mind.”

After McCue was approved for the position, former vice president Amy Weekley was elected to serve as board president for the remainder of the calendar year. Carl Gonzalez was elected as the new vice president.

McCue is a colonel in the Air National Guard and currently serves as director of staff at the Ohio National Guard joint force headquarters in Columbus. He is a Bellville resident and father of four children all of whom graduated from or are currently attending school in the district.

Before a stint with the National Guard Bureau in Washington D.C., McCue spent time on the boards at North Central State College and United Way of Richland County. The chance to be of service on the Clear Fork board is what prompted him to apply.

“I found out about this opportunity, so I applied, put my name in the hat, here we are,” said McCue. “I’m very excited and humbled. I’m looking forward to working with this fine crew.”
Weekley stated that McCue’s prior experience on boards and in the National Guard contributed to the decision to appoint him.

“He understands the chain of command very well. He has the experience,” said Weekley. “Being in the military, he brings a unique perspective to our board.”

Weekley went on to say that the position of a school board member is often misunderstood. While members are elected, and thus government officials, their role is to oversee and make policy, not to serve as administrators.

“We’re a policymaking board, so we hire the superintendent and the treasurer and our trust is in them,” she explained. “We are not to meddle in the daily affairs and Mr. McCue understands that very well.”

Weekley said that as board president, she hopes to continue fostering healthy relationships between the board and school administrators and to create a good working environment in the district.

The meeting was attended by approximately 25 school teachers and supporters wearing red shirts. The group was inspired by Red for Ed, a growing grassroots movement promoting better pay for public school teachers.

The district’s teacher’s union is still negotiating contracts for the upcoming school year. Union representatives have a meeting with the administration later this month.

District Superintendent Janice Wyckoff announced that Clear Fork will be entering into an agreement with the National Center on Rural Education Research Networks, a project run through the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. The project creates multi-year partnerships between the ivy league college and a select number of rural school districts in New York and Ohio. The goal of the project is to address topics including chronic absenteeism, college readiness and college enrollment in rural schools.

“Clear Fork doesn’t have a lot of (chronic absenteeism), but we’re very interested in the college readiness part of it,” said Wyckoff. “Not everybody needs to go to college…but if that is something our kids want to do, we want to make sure they’re ready for it.”

Wyckoff credited Anitra Van Horn, district curriculum specialist and testing coordinator, with handling the school’s application and subsequent interviews for the program.

After Gonzalez asked whether the analysis received from Harvard would truly benefit the district, board member Dan Freund stated he was familiar with the program and assured it would be helpful.

“This is an exceptional opportunity for Clear Fork,” said Freund. “The data that you get is highly usable. We will get information that we can make a really strategic plan off of.”

Before wrapping up the meeting, the board approved a change to the district’s mission statement, “Exceeding Expectations.” Wyckoff explained that administrators had requested it be changed to “Striving to Exceed Expectations.”

“The administrative team was sitting around, having a meeting one day…There was a discussion about ‘Whose expectations are we exceeding?’” she said.

Administrators felt the new wording reflected every individual’s ability to set and strive towards his or her own expectations.

The board also:

•Recognized Nancy Fox for participating in the e3 smart energy efficiency education program in partnership with Columbia Gas during the 2018-2019 school year.

•Approved the employment of Brandon Burgess as middle school English language arts teacher, Angela Kasper and Theresa Dutch as intervention specialists, Jacquelynn Arnold as middle school classroom aide and Tina Thompson as high school cafeteria worker for the 2019-2020 school year.

•Accepted resignations from intervention specialists Sarah Conkling and Monica Stillion and bus driver Sharon Smith. Smith is retiring after more than 33 years with the district but will continue as a substitute driver.

 

Katie Ellington: 740-397-5333 or katie@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @kt_ellington

 

 

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