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Ava R-I School Board Reorganizes; Hires Staff for 2019-20 School Term

Newly-elected school board members, Dan Johnson, left, and Brandi Stanifer, right, took the oath of office Tuesday evening during the Ava R-I School Board reorganization meeting held just prior to the regular April session.

The Ava R-I Board of Education reorganized Tuesday evening with two newly elected board members taking the oath of office.  During the session, Brandi Stanifer and Dan Johnson were sworn in and new officers were elected for the upcoming term.  The board also accepted election results as verified by County Clerk Karry Davis. 

Bart Ellison was elected president of the board in a 5-2 vote, with Deana Parsick and Dan Johnson voting against the nomination.  Mark Henry was voted in as vice president of the board, also with a 5-2 vote and Parsick and Johnson voting against.  In unanimous votes, Kenny Fleetwood was elected secretary; Monica Ray, treasurer; Deana Parsick, MSBA delegate; and Kenny Fleetwood, MSBA alternate delegate.  

Addressing annual formalities, the board unanimously voted to follow the assurance guidelines established and expected when spending state and federal monies.  The depository agreement with Stockmens Bank, formerly First Home, was approved for another year as well.  This is the fifth-year of a five-year contract agreement with the financial institution. 

During executive session, the board accepted a retirement resignation from Leann Tomlinson, high school family and consumer science teacher.  

New hires for the upcoming school term include the following:  Abbie Baird, leaning lab supervisor; Angela McKay, JAG teacher, with six years experience working with at-risk youths; John Branstetter, Vo-Ag teacher, 22 years teaching experience at Plato High School; Carrie Laird, middle school special education, 12 years experience, currently teaching at Lutie ; Edwina Welch, fifth grade math, 17 years experience; and Libby Lotter, six-grade math, nine years teaching experience.  

Superintendent Dr. Jason Dial provided a list of capitol improvement projects for the board to consider and rate according to importance level.  Proposed projects were noted as follows: 

1).  Fourth-grade hallway asbestos tile removal, $45,000;

2).  Roof repair in the fourth-grade hallway and high school kitchen, $165,000;

3).  Purchase a new, large trip bus costing around $85,000 to $95,000;  

4).  Bus cameras for all 26 buses, contracted and non-contracted, $60,000;

5).  Relocate two preschool buildings and special services buildings to bring the classrooms together.  Dial said this would be an in-house project.

6).  Technology upgrades: a.  purchase a virtual server, $36,000;  b.  purchase new anti-virus software, $8,000 to $9,000;  c.  purchase a virtual LAN (local area network) so the three building systems may be segregated from spreading viruses throughout the system, $6,000 to $8,000.  

Dial said a survey will be sent to each board member with directions to prioritize the list of improvements according to importance.  Once this task is completed, the answers will be assessed and used for establishing budget numbers for the 2019-20 school year.  

The board unanimously approved the guidance counseling program review as presented. 

In the board spotlight, Rebecca Gann, with MOCH, was recognized for facilitating the local task force that is addressing the community crisis in dealing with substance use and abuse in the four county area which includes Ozark, Douglas, Wright and Texas counties.   School Resource Officer Brandon Reed, and Vernon Johnson were also recognized for their assistance in the program.  Gann said the focus of the initiative is based upon three tenets: prevention, treatment, and recovery.  She noted the program is not only enlightening, but has also revealed how impactful the problem is upon communities in general and how efforts toward change can make a difference.  

Board members also recognized Sarah Sacco, instrumental music teacher and Ava’s Tri-M sponsor, for her guidance and dedication to various music programs at Ava R-I.  As Ava’s Tri-M sponsor, Sacco not only serves locally but nationally as well.  In the presentation, two Ava students gave an account of a recent survey of Ava students in grades four through high school noting the importance of music.  The students stated that music is a stress reliever, and it brings people together.  

Reagan Swatosh, daughter of Chris and Marcella Swatoch, was also recognized for achieving several outstanding accomplishments this year.  Reagan, an office holder in the State FBLA organization, has also been selected by the White River Valley Electric Coop to serve as a representative in Washington, D.C. as a local delegate.  She is also a candidate for Girls State. 

Assistant Superintendent Aaron Dalton advised teachers, staff and students are preparing for standardized testing which starts soon. 

Each board member was given a list of committee opportunities for the ensuing year.  Dial asked board members to review the list and choose their points of interest for the next session. 

Board members present were Dan Johnson, Kenny Fleetwood, Mark Henry, Bart Ellison, Michael Stewart, Brandi Stanifer and Deana Parsick.  Student representative Paige Kimmons was also present. 

Meeting video may be viewed on the Douglas County Herald website. 

The next board meeting is set for May 16, 6:30 p.m., in the board of education room on campus.  Meetings are open to the public.