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Grady County school superintendent Dr. Kermit Gilliard briefed the Grady County Board of Education Tuesday night that the new artificial turf at West Thomas Stadium could be completed within two weeks or perhaps sooner, weather permitting.
“Regardless, it will be completed in plenty of time for graduation,” Dr. Gilliard said.
COVID-19 restrictions have been eased by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and with no limits on crowd sizes, school officials are planning for the traditional outdoor graduation ceremony at Cairo High School.
The superintendent said he was meeting with high school officials later this week to discuss end-of-the-year activities including graduation and baccalaureate.
High school officials have expressed a desire to have the graduates seated on the field facing the south end zone as was done for graduation last year. In years past, the senior class has sat on the field facing the west stands.
Dr. Gilliard said that even though COVID-19 restrictions have been eased it was his plan to continue to promote facial masks, social distancing and frequent hand-washing.
“By seating the graduates facing the south end zone that allows us to utilize the bleachers on both sides of the field which would allow for social distancing,” Dr. Gilliard said.
Board member Gerald Goosby requested the bleachers be pressure washed prior to the ceremony and Board member Jeff Worsham asked if the ceremony was returning to an evening time slot.
Dr. Gilliard said it would be held in the evening and he would request the bleachers be cleaned ahead of time.
Last year, due to COVID restrictions the audience was tightly restricted and the ceremony was held on Saturday morning.
“We will be finalizing plans later this week and we will provide more information at that time,” Dr. Gilliard said.
In other business, the school board:
• Heard an update from Dr. Gilliard regarding the stadium restroom project. The superintendent reported that bids would be opened today, April 14, for the new bathroom project.
• Heard a report on construction at Eastside Elementary School. Dr. Gilliard said that the contractor was aware and committed to having the classrooms that are being renovated completed prior to the reopening of school in the fall, but that the new construction, as planned, would not be completed until October.
• Authorized the payment of accounts payable totaling $1,414,057.49.
• Authorized execution of a memorandum of understanding with the University of Georgia’s Archway Partnership. The school system contributes $10,000 in annual funding for Archway. “The plan is to continue with the program at least for another year,” Dr. Gilliard said. Board vice chairman John White abstained citing a potential conflict of interest with his employer, the Grady County Board of Commissioners, which is also a funding partner for Archway.
• Approved the hiring of the following personnel: Melissa Baxter – special education teacher at Eastside Elementary School; Lacy Ansley – teacher at Eastside (pending background check); Chasity True – teacher at Eastside; Avon Laing – bus driver; Lynn Reynolds – special ed teacher at Washington Middle School; Hannah Owens – teacher at Northside Elementary School; Elizabeth Moulton – teacher at Northside (pending background check); Sara Williams – art teacher at Northside (pending background check); Wendy Evans – para professional at Washington (pending background check); and Nancee Knight – teacher at Eastside (pending background check).
• Accepted resignations from the following: Raphael Smith – special ed teacher at Cairo High School; Regina Mitchell – special ed teacher at C.H.S.; Mallory Summers – teacher at Eastside Elementary School; Catherine Hoskins – Project Search teacher at C.H.S.; Joshua Moore – chorus teacher at Washington Middle School; Regina Jackson – para professional at Southside Elementary School; Jonathan Ross – special ed teacher at Washington; Courtney Miller – para professional at Southside; Jennifer Brock – para professional at Whigham Elementary School; and Suzanne Stephenson – teacher at Northside Elementary School.
• Approved the transfer of the following personnel: Amy Phillips – special ed teacher at Eastside Elementary School to Behavioral Specialist; Christina Issac – from Southside Elementary School assistant principal to Cairo High School assistant principal; Jessica DeVoursney – from Whigham Elementary School assistant principal to Southside assistant principal; Selena Williams – from Northside Elementary School instructional coordinator to Northside assistant principal; Brandi Jackson – from Washington Middle School special ed teacher to Whigham special ed teacher; Betty Dawn Lee – from general ed teacher at Eastside to art teacher at Eastside; Destiny Broome – from teacher at Southside to teacher at Eastside; Raquel Bell Carter – from teacher at Northside to elementary teacher at Grady Education Center; Spencer Cooper – from para professional at Washington to science teacher at Washington; and JJ Cooper – from C.H.S. science teacher to C.H.S. PE teacher.
Board member Teresa Gee Harris abstained from voting on the slate of personnel recommendations citing a conflict of interest since some of her relatives were included in the recommendations.