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Strike up the band!

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Crowd cheers new gear for marching band

By Shannon Brock

Rarely does a vote of the Board of Education garner applause from the crowd in attendance, but such was the case Monday night as the board agreed to purchase more than $18,000 in equipment for the Anderson County High School marching band.

New band director Patrick Brady had more than moral support as he asked the board for the funding. Many students and parents helped fill the board room, and newly elected board chairman Lee Hahn acknowledged there was strength in numbers, telling Brady that it helped his cause to have so much support with him.

Brady told the board that he already has a lot of new band students and because he is “topped out instrument-wise,” the band doesn’t have a lot of room to grow.

The new instruments will last for years as long as they are properly cared for, he said.

Brady said he thinks Anderson County is competitive in most other areas, and “there’s no reason band should be any different.”

Hahn said Brady seemed up to the challenge of the situation.

“We just have to give him the (equipment) to work with,” Hahn told the board.

The board approves any purchase requests over $5,000, and the band request was included with about 15 others, all of which passed unanimously.

In other business, representatives from Sherman-Carter-Barnhart Architects and Alliance Corporation told board members the construction projects at the high school annex and Anderson County Middle School are on schedule. The annex is scheduled to open as a ninth grade center when school starts Aug. 4.

Also, Superintendent Kim Shaw informed the board that four of the district’s employees have been asked to present at a national conference on special education. Sheila Mitchell, assistant superintendent for academic achievement, Ramona Karsner, director of special education, Matt Koger, school psychologist at the Early Childhood Center, and Beth Morgan, school psychologist at Robert B. Turner Elementary School, will present at the conference.

Shaw also told the board that the district’s energy conservation efforts are working. Over the past three months, the district has saved about $60,000, he said.

He also recognized Transportation Director Chuck Fletcher who received a lifetime achievement award at the recent state transportation conference. Fletcher was named transportation director of the year in 2007-08.

Fletcher attended the meeting to give his annual transportation report. For the 2008-09 school year, county school buses, including those for special needs students, traveled an average of 2,297 miles per day.

The buses traveled a total of 530,826 miles during the 2008-09 fiscal year.

Fletcher also said that during the 2008-09 school year, 65 percent of students rode the buses, up from 54 percent the year before.

Bus drivers will be starting a new procedure for the 2009-10 school year. Each driver will have an “all clear” sign to display in the bus window after finishing his or her route. Drivers are required to check their buses at the end of the route to make sure no students have been left behind. If the bus is clear, the “all clear” sign will be placed in the front window.

Shaw also informed the board of the following personnel actions:

Employed

Colleen Adams as family literacy children’s program instructor for ACE

Robin Arnzen as principal at Saffell Street Elementary School

Aaron Bastin as a substitute custodian at Emma B. Ward Elementary School

Derek Craft as a summer maintenance worker

James Evans as a substitute custodian at Anderson County High School

Ken Fenwick as head boys’ basketball coach at Anderson County Middle School

Leslie Mitchell as a teacher at the middle school

Sheila Mitchell as assistant superintendent for academic achievement

Heather Montgomery as a teacher at the high school

Gerald Shaw as LEAP program coordinator/instructor at ACE

Steve Swank as director of the Phoenix Academy

Mica Tolliver as a hearing impaired teacher

Ashley Thacker as a teacher at the high school

Lisa Winfrey as dance coach at the middle school

Leaves granted

Heather Chilton, for the month of August

Kim Hodges, beginning approximately Oct. 9 for eight weeks

Resignations

Larry Basham as energy manager

Dawn Caldwell as a substitute bus monitor

Travis Gay as head track coach and as an assistant football coach at the high school

Richard Hettinger as an assistant football coach at the middle school

Hannah Scott as a teacher at the high school

E-mail Shannon Mason Brock at sbrock@theandersonnews.com.