Pless new chairman of ECS Board

Published 3:47 pm Friday, December 18, 2020

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When the December regularly-scheduled meeting of the Elizabethton City Schools Board of Education convened on Thursday evening, the first measure of business was the nomination and election of a board chairman and vice-chairman.

Board member Phil Isaacs opened the meeting by taking nominations for board chairman and new board member Michael Wilson nominated Eddie Pless for the role.

After a unanimous vote approved Pless as the new chairman, Pless then opened the floor for the vice-chairman role and Isaacs was nominated by Danny O’Quinn to fill the seat.

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Isaacs was also approved unanimously.

After the selection was completed, the Board of Education moved to a special time of recognition to honor the 2020-2021 Elizabethton City Schools System-Level Teachers of the Year as Travis Thompson shared those who were being recognized.

Those included:
System-Level Teachers of the Year
PRE-K-4: Amy Cole
GRADES 5-8 & SPECIAL AREAS: Brandi McCloud
GRADES 9-12: Jason Clevinger
Building-Level Teachers of the Year:
Sara Dunford
Nicole Horne
Amy Cole
Emilee Whitehead
Lindsey Mussard
Laura Blevins
Brandi McCloud
Jason Clevinger

Following the time of recognition, Mr. Richard VanHuss gave the Director’s Report beginning by thanking the entire school system for their continued hard work through a time of unbelievable challenges.

VanHuss stated that everyone had gone above and beyond to ensure that the children were taken care while working through the many changes brought on by the pandemic.

He also congratulated the Teachers of the Year for their hard work.

Other items VanHuss touched on included:
-Advised that schools would remain on hybrid through January 22nd, 2021. Advised that an evaluation of the situation was ongoing and decisions would be made accordingly.
-Thanking the Elizabethton City Council for their donation to the Wandell Scholarship Fund.
-Congratulated the Elizabethton High School football team for winning back-to-back state championships along with the choral department for singing the National Anthem at the title game.
-Updated the board on the ongoing entrance hardening at three of the system’s schools. Stated the project is going well.
-Informed the board that two bathrooms have been completed at TA Dugger and that the other two bathrooms along with the handicap bathrooms are underway,
-Three outbuildings at TAD have been completely roofed at the middle school and the roofing project is still ongoing.

During the meeting, Elizabethton City Council liaison Michael Simerly requested to address the board about a situation that came up during a recent city council meeting in regard to naming Rogosin Dr. to Dave Rider Dr.

Simerly advised that the change had gone through planning and zoning without anything negative arising but when some people saw the article in the Elizabethton Star regarding the change, some council members had received calls about the change.

“City Council wants to do the right thing and definitely wants to honor Coach Dave Rider,” Simerly said. “We are looking for ideas and wanted to reach out to you looking for some direction.

“You are the eyes and ears of the school system.”

Simerly also hinted that there was another coach that something needed to be done for in reference to Cyclone head coach Shawn Witten who just won his second state title in as many years.

New board members Michael Wilson and Jamie Bass Schaff shared about their recent training with the TSBA (Tennessee School Boards Association).

“It was tremendously helpful training,” said Wilson. “It pointed out many things if you don’t know what the law is. Some of it was what a school board member is not.”

Bass-Schaff said that she truly appreciated the opportunity to go.

The board unanimously passed on first reading changes to five policies that were needed according to VanHuss due to changes in the law.

Lastly, the board made changes to their regularly-scheduled meetings voting unanimously to change the meeting date to Thursdays and the start time from 6:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

The January 2021 regularly-scheduled meeting will now be held on Thursday, January 21st at 5:30 pm in the Mack Pierce Board Meeting Room at the Central Office on Watauga Avenue.