SALEM — Superintendent Dr. Joe Shivers attended his final school board meeting with little fanfare Monday morning, that is until school board President LuAnn Haddad pulled out a plaque with his name on it.
“Thank you for your vision, thank you for your dedication, work hard, play nice,” she said, acknowledging Shiver’s credo.
Shivers didn’t want a big sendoff, so she said they didn’t bring the band or cheerleaders out, but they did not want the moment to go by without acknowledging his dedication, for all the long days, the phone calls and hard work, and for each student under his care who graduated and went on to other accomplishments.
Shivers will retire at the end of this month.
As part of the consent agenda, the school board approved the hiring of Jessie Dotson as the new precision machining teacher at the high school, with all board members voting yes except for board member Doug Moffett, who abstained. When asked about the vote, Moffett said he was really abstaining from just one item under the consent agenda, but the way the consent agenda works, it’s yes or no to all unless an item is pulled out for a separate vote, such as two athletical supplementals were.
Moffett said he wanted to abstain from the vote on the precision machining teacher because he didn’t feel that four years in the trade was enough experience for that position. He described Dotson as smart and a quick learner, but didn’t think he was experienced enough. He recalled when he taught the class, he had 10 years of experience in the field and didn’t think he himself had enough experience.
Assistant Superintendent and High School Principal Sean Kirkland, who will become superintendent when Shivers leaves, said Dotson was valedictorian of Salem High School Class of 2015 and had many options, but fell in love with precision machining. His teacher had been the late Todd Vadino. He wanted to go into the field right away and start his apprenticeship and started with Butech Bliss straight out of high school.
Kirkland noted that the fact he was valedictorian and went through the SHS program were two advantages, plus he went through a rigorous interview process. Kirkland explained that state guidelines allow for a school district to hire people from a given field to teach. The guidelines require five years experience in the given field, but if someone has not reached the five-year mark, the district can assemble a panel of industry experts to be part of the job interview process.
Since Dotson had a little over four years experience, Shivers put together an interview panel that included representatives from Butech Bliss, BOC Water Hydraulics and Compco Industries, along with Kirkland, soon-to-be new high school principal Todd McLaughlin and maintenance supervisor Jason Austin.
“He was hands-on the best candidate for the position,” Kirkland said.
As part of the state requirements, he’ll have to complete 24 hours of college credit within four years to earn his permanent teaching certificate. According to Kirkland, the state sees a need to bring experts from certain fields into the classrooms and this is a path to make that happen. Dotson helped with the academic challenge teams this past year so the administration got to see him work with students already.
“We’re looking forward to Jessie being part of the staff. The enthusiasm he’ll bring to the classroom will be unmatched,” Kirkland said.
Under athletic supplementals, Bethany Glasser resigned as junior high cross country head coach and was hired as high school cross country assistant coach, with Russell Hopple hired as junior high cross country head coach and Matt Mowery selected as JV boys basketball head coach. Bailey abstained from both votes regarding the athletic supplementals due to his position as a volunteer high school soccer coach. Moffett voted in favor of both supplemental votes.
In other personnel matters, the board approved union bids for classified positions for Veronica Shadle for junior high secretary and Brenda Blaine for athletic secretary, approved moves up the pay scale for Melinda Westbrook and Rebecca Gallagher from MA plus 15 to MA plus 30, hired both Jordyn Burke and Ty Graham , as social studies teacher grades 7-12 and increased the van driver position from four hours per day to five hours per day five days per week.
The board approved a new salaries index for Hannah E. Mullins School of Practical Nursing staff which includes raises ranging from 25 cents per hour to $1 per hour (for some administrative positions).
The board also accepted with gratitude a $1,000 donation from Gordmans to Salem High School.