Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland led the swearing in of four Cleveland Board of Education members at Tuesday night’s monthly session.
Re-elected board members Peggy Pesterfield, Tom Cloud and Dawn Robinson were challenged to support the constitutions of both the United States and Tennessee as well as the ordinances and charter of Cleveland.
Newly elected board member Charlie Cogdill received some good-natured ribbing from Rowland prior to his swear-in.
“I have to ask you a question or two,” Rowland said. “Are you qualified to be a school board member? Have you had some sort of education in your life?”
Cogdill, who retired in 2009 after 36 years in education, assured Rowland he had “a little” experience. He requested his two children, James Cogdill and Kelly Bishop, stand beside him for the swearing-in.
All four board members swore to faithfully discharge the duties of their office as school board members of the city of Cleveland.
“Congratulations to all of you,” Rowland said in conclusion. “Thank you for your service. It is not an easy job.”
Board members then stood to greet the new teachers from each of the city schools as they were introduced by the principals. There were a total of 29 new additions to the teaching staff throughout the system. Teachers were announced regardless of whether they were able to attend.
The new teachers included:
- Arnold Elementary: Kirsten Donnelly, Tianna Hubbard and Andrew Overstreet;
- Blythe-Bower Elementary: Kayla Caldwell, Mandy Franklin, Brenda Martin, Preston Scoggins and Ginger Harness;
- Mayfield Elementary: Melyssa Powell;
- E.L. Ross Elementary: Abigail Elrod;
- Stuart Elementary: Crystal Bates and Evan Vermillion;
- Yates Primary: Whitney McClure and Amber Montgomery;
- Cleveland Middle: Ashley Gunderson, Rebecca McKenzie and Laura Ownbey;
- Cleveland High: Micah Bradbury, Adam Collins, Brian Dvorak, Holly Dunn, Brooke Gasper, Anna Hutt, Ted Lockerby, Hilary Reid, Sean Russell, Nicole Williams and Joseph Knox; and
- Teen Learning Center: Questalina Waters.
Director of Schools Martin Ringstaff requested the school board approve new positions to meet the needs of the growing student body. He asked for approval of five positions: one half-time art teacher, two half-time English as a second language positions, one half-time physical education teacher and one full-time elementary position.
Ringstaff explained the elementary position could just as easily be switched to a full-time CDC (comprehensive development classroom) teacher at Cleveland High School.
“Blythe-Bower was actually over the (student) limit when we put [the full-time elementary position] on here. It has now fallen below the limit. We have about a three-student cushion there,” Ringstaff said. “... We have a special ed class at the high school that has 19 students in it. It is supposed to have 12 in it.”
He said students at Blythe-Bower are sitting at 25 per class. The average can be no more than 25.4. According to Ringstaff, the elementary school is very transient, so the numbers may decrease.
The board approved the addition of a CDC position at the high school.
Robinson provided a Tennessee Legislative Network report to the school board prior to the conclusion of the meeting.
- Dan Howell is the new Bradley County state representative. Robinson pointed out he is starting early since Eric Watson was recently sworn in as sheriff of Bradley County.
- A new assessment will be created for the social studies standards in Tennessee as every child in the state passed.
- A recent report claimed pediatricians believe school should start later in the day. Board member George Meacham said the early start time will prepare students for jobs which start around the same time. Board members agreed students would not go to bed any earlier with a later start time.
Cleveland High Principal Autumn O’Bryan recognized Norma Roberts and Zach Riggins as the employees of the month.