Board member John Doty reported that the board’s assistant principal search team had interviewed two applicants and recommended the board hire LeeAnn Monroe, of Staunton, VA, at a salary of $74,000. “We were unanimous in recommending her,” Doty said. “She’s very enthusiastic. And everyone we talked to was enthusiastic – not only about her, but generally.”
Monroe is currently a science teacher at Robert E. Lee High School in Staunton.
Twin Valley School Board Chair Seth Boyd updated board members on the progress of construction at Twin Valley Middle/High School in Whitingham. “Although we said the gymnasium probably wouldn’t be completed until after the beginning of the school year, it’s actually ahead of schedule,” Boyd said.
“I talked to someone at graduation who was concerned about the condition of the softball field, and hopes it will get some attention so it’s in better shape than it is now for next season,” said Doty. “Especially when you look at Baker Field, and think about Title IX disparities.” Title IX is a federal education law that, among other things, mandates that equal facilities and equipment be available for boys’ and girls’ sports.
“There was something in the plans, but we still have to figure out how to do it,” said Boyd. “There’s something in the works for alternative funding for the athletic fields.”
“At graduations sometimes one gets buttonholed,” said Doty.
“Even at Shaw’s it happens,” Boyd agreed.
Board members also discussed the parking dilemma at Twin Valley Elementary School. Board member Phil Taylor offered a suggestion to change the traffic rules in the parking area to allow people to pick up and drop off students from the bus lane during certain periods when the buses aren’t present. TVES Principal Rebecca Fillion questioned whether the bus schedule would be predictable enough for the plan to work smoothly and consistently.
Taylor also wondered whether the elementary school would be able to hold concerts at Memorial Hall. During the winter, when parking on the athletic field isn’t possible, the regular parking lot isn’t adequate for all of the family and friends who attend the concerts. Additionally, TVES doesn’t have a suitable performance space.
“Do we know if Memorial Hall will get its heat and upgrades, and does it have the capacity?” asked Taylor.
Fillion said one of the problems was that students needed to be able to practice in the same place they’ll be performing. For one concert last year, students practiced in a space intended to approximate their performance space, but when it came time for the actual performance, the setup turned out to be different and students were discombobulated.
“The spring concert was very successful, but I don’t think we’ll ever be able to have a winter concert again,” Fillion said. “Unless they can plow the field.”
“Well, we’ve talked about extending the parking lot behind the building,” Taylor said. “I wonder if there’s any way we can upgrade the field to be played on and driven on. If it had sufficient drainage, we could make it overflow parking for big events.”
In other matters the board ratified the school district names that they’ve been using for almost a decade. According to superintendent Richard McClements, an issue with the names arose during discussions with the Vermont municipal employees retirement system. The central office discovered that, in order for employees to have a choice of retirement plans, a “recognized official name” must be on file.
In response, board members passed resolutions confirming that the official name of the district is the “Wilmington/Whitingham Joint School District” and the “popular trade name” is “Twin Valley School District.”
Finally, the board said thank you and goodbye to McClements, who was attending his last meeting before leaving for Arizona. “Thank you for holding us together and everything you’ve done for us,” said Taylor.
“I didn’t do as much as I would like to do,” McClements said. “I think the district is definitely headed in the right direction. The elementary school is well on the way with a great principal (Rebecca Fillion). I have great respect for her. And I think Tom (Fitzgerald, TVMHS principal) is going to be good. You also have a lot of good teachers, new teachers, and the facility is going to be beautiful. Now you’ve just got to go out and recruit the kids that are going elsewhere now, and build your school system.”