McAbee thanked for raising expectations during tenure

Published 11:42 pm Friday, June 17, 2022

Despite the challenges of the past two years, Dr. Tracy McAbee raised the bar for Carter County Schools. And for that, he was thanked on Thursday.
“The last two years across the nation have been the most devastating and challenging,” said Tony Garland, chairman of the Carter County School Board. “I appreciate you for your effort. You’ve raised the bar during that time and you’ve raised expectations.”
Garland was thanking McAbee during the director of schools’ last official meeting with the Carter County Board. McAbee recently accepted a similar position in Lewis County.
During the meeting, McAbee also took time to highlight several recent accomplishments and ongoing projects, including efforts to raise teacher and substitute pay.
“You gave a full 4 percent raise last year and a 3 percent raise this year,” he said. “That’s a 7 percent raise within two years, and it’s something to be commended.”
Combined with effort to raise bus driver pay and substitute teacher pay, McAbee said the board is making decisions that have a positive ripple effect across the district, adding that teacher retention is 90 percent this year.
Other efforts to focus on the social and emotional well-being of the child have been important, as well. “We’ve added six social workers in the past couple of years,” he said. “And the final thing I want to point out is that if you remember when we started last year, the students had been gone from March to May … then came August and September with the highest COVID rates we’d seen.
“This coming year — hopefully, fingers crossed — we’re going to start off normal.”
Finally, he reminded the board of an ongoing cost-cutting measure that could potentially save the district “thousands and thousands of dollars.”
McAbee said district staff had worked to evaluate copy machine contracts across the district and had received a proposal from a company to consolidate and lower costs on the machines. “Then we found out that Mrs. Carolyn (Watson) at the county commission is the only one who can write an RFP,” McAbee said, adding that the county finance director now has all the information they gathered and has promised to follow-through on the proposal.
Brandon Carpenter, who currently serves as principal of Hampton Elementary, will take over as director of schools on July 1.

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