The District 56 Board of Trustees, meeting at Joanna Woodson Elementary School, met the Teachers of the Year from the district's six schools and participated in the announcement. Each school made a nomination, the nominees completed an information packet, and three people from outside the district made the TOY selection.
Messer grew up in Clinton and said she is excited to represent citizens of the City and all of District 56. "I love these people," she said. Messer is a Support Services teacher at Clinton Elementary School.
Nominees and their schools were:
-Susan Nelson, MS Bailey Child Development Center;
-Margaret Bright, Joanna Woodson Elementary;
-Susan Davis, Eastside Elementary;
-Beatrice Ray, Clinton Middle; and
-Paige Drisgula, Clinton High School.
"Our students are the real winners with these people behind me," Superintendent Dr. David O'Shields said of the nominees. "We really have great things going on in Clinton and Joanna, on our six campuses."
Joanna Woodson Principal Eddie Marshall outlined for the board the school's 2017-18 theme, "Education is Teamwork." Students, teachers and parents described for the board instructional opportunities and service projects on-going at the Joanna community school.
Dr. David Pitts, assistant superintendent, detailed for the board how $700,000 coming to the district from state funds will be spent on maintenance projects. He said fire alarms will be upgraded at Joanna Woodson, the main gym at Clinton Middle School will be re-roofed, and controls at Eastside will be converted to electronic. The money is part of a state attempt to settle a lawsuit filed by under-performing, poverty level school districts (District 56 was a plaintiff) alleging a long history of inequitable funding. It's called "the Abbeville money" because, alphabetically, the Abbeville school district is the first plaintiff listed.
"We're going to go ask for additional money," Pitts said. D56 and Chester were the only districts to have their requests fully funded.
The board was told $27 million of the $56 million appropriated by the state in an attempt to settle the lawsuit was awarded in the first round of grants.
D56 will look for additional money to replace and weatherize windows at the former Bell Street Middle School, the board was told. It is an attempt to preserve the vacant school for community purposes, in addition to its current tenants, CC4Y and the Empowerment Center.