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Ava R-1 School Board: Dial Retires, Dalton New Super, Seigler New AD

The Ava R-1 School Board convened for their regular monthly meeting last Thursday, February 18th. 

Closed Session

Dial retires, Dalton as Super

During closed session the board voted 7-0 to accept the retirement resignation of Dr. Jason Dial effective at the end of this school year.

The board voted 7-0 to hire Aaron Dalton as Superintendent on a 3-year contract beginning with the 2021-2022 school year at a salary of $135,000.

Other Staffing

In all 7-0 votes, the board:

Accepted the resignation of Libby Lotter as 6th grade teacher effective at the end of the school year.

Accepted the retirement resignation of Lisa McAllister as 3rd grade teacher effective at the end of the school year.

Hired Jennifer Page as the elementary school teacher effective for the 2021 – 2022 school year.

Hired Damon Seigler as the Activities/Athletic Director beginning with the 2021 – 2022 school year.

Hired Ciara Bray as a Special Education Paraprofessional.

Granted one-year contract extensions to High School Principal Dr. Teresa Nash, Middle School Principal Patricia Nelson, Elementary Principal Clint Hall, High School Assistant Principal Nathan Houk, and Special Education Director Melissa Dalton.

Real Estate

During closed session the board also approved the purchase of two properties on Martin Avenue, one for $50,000 and one for $20,100.

Open Session

Payment of Bills

The board  voted to authorize payment of bills. The authorization was split into two votes to allow board members with potential conflicts of interest to abstain from voting.

Principal/Director Reports

The board then heard reports from the leader of each school or department.


Dr. Clint Hall reported that Ava Elementary School was looking forward to finally celebrating the first 100 days in school after school being closed for two weeks due to weather.

Middle School

Ava Middle School Principal Patricia Nelson reported that Ava Middle School had 20-25 students enrolled in completion of credits classes.

High School 

Dr. Teresa Nash, Ava High School Principal reported that Hoopcoming would take place on February 22nd, after being delayed due to inclement weather.

Special Services

Erin Swofford reported that her department was doing 11 initial evaluations and 17 re-evaluations.


Maintenance Director Monty Hall reported that his department was busy dealing with snow and ice issues around the campus.

Food Service

Food Service Director Yvonne Honerkamp passed out updated menus and mentioned adding more warm options based on feedback she was getting.

Administration Reports – Superintendent

Dr. Dial reported that the school was in “pretty good shape financially, mostly due to the additional COVID-19 related funds.”

Dial also reported that the schools were set to receive $1.79 Million through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER1) Fund. He said the school would have until September of 2023 to spend the money, and that it would be “one-time money” and suggested not spending it on recurring expenses. 

Dial committed to putting together a list of ideas for the board to review and also mentioned wanting to get some community input on spending the money.

Dial said there was potential for additional funds over and above the ESSER 1 dollars but didn’t feel comfortable counting on it just yet.

Dial went on to compare the costs of the school preparing meals inhouse to what the school paid OPAA. 

Dial indicated he wasn’t certain that the numbers were currently an “apples to apples” comparison, especially with the recent school closures due to inclement weather.

Given that, Dial shared that in February of 2020 the school spent $62K on meals, while in 2021 the school had spent $43K.

Administration Reports – Assistant Superintendent

Mr. Dalton reported that the school may be eligible for a Computer Science grant that would pay for training 3-5 teachers over a three year period.

Mr. Dalton also reported that, between days closed for COVID and for weather, the school would have to make up 2.5 hours of instruction.

Action Items (requiring a board vote)

The Board discussed several action items during the meeting. All items needing a vote were voted in 7-0.

Library/Media Program Review

The board approved a report from Middle School Principal Patricia Nelson covering the school library and media program. Some ideas from the review were additional lower-height shelving to allow better visibility, and additional measures to hold students accountable for unreturned materials.

Health Services Program Review

The board approved a review of the school health services program. Program representatives reported a decrease in the number of students they were interacting with on a daily basis. At the beginning of the school year they were seeing 80-100 kids per day, now they were down to 40-60 kids per day.

School Calendar for 2021 – 2022

Mr. Dalton talked about the research being done on a four-day school week and if it made sense for Ava Schools. The main concerns were how the length of the school day and length of the school year would be affected. Research is ongoing, and will include community feedback if it gets to that point. No vote was taken.

Homeschool Students in MSHSAA Activities

In a discussion that went on for nearly an hour, the board talked about its recent vote to allow local homeschoolers to participate in MSHSAA activies. 

Conversation topics included :

Reasons that families homeschool

Efforts by Ava Schools to reduce bullying,

Criticism vs. constructive criticism

If or how homeschooler participation would affect Ava’s MHSAA classifications

Whether the board should have surveyed the parents of its current student body about the issue

The possibility of surveying the local homeschooler community to gauge interest in the new offering.

Dr. Dial read a letter from a local homeschooling parent and the board heard comments from teachers attending the meeting.


View the video footage of the meeting on (the homeschooler discussion starts around the 1:20:00 mark).

Next Meeting

The next regular board meeting will be held March 18th at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are open to the public.