MITCHELL — Deb Olson and Terry Aslesen were sworn in as members of the Mitchell Board of Education on Monday night, both taking up a three-year term.
Olson was also elected president of the Mitchell Board of Education and Brittni Flood was elected vice president during the board’s reorganization for the 2022-23 school year.
The decisions were made at the last board meeting on Monday evening, July 11.
Olson and Flood were the only nominations for the positions and both were elected by unanimous vote of the five-member council. Olson returned to her role as president after serving in the role for the past school year. Kevin Kenkel previously served as Vice Chairman of the Board.
Olson, who was re-elected to the board, and Aslesen, a former Mitchell School District administrator and educator who won his seat for his first term on the board in June, were sworn in to district business manager Steve Culhane. Olson resumed his own seat on the board of directors while Aslesen took the seat previously held by Kenkel, who elected not to seek re-election for another term.
Aslesen looked forward to serving the students, employees and customers of the Mitchell School District as he began his three-year term.
“I’m looking forward to trying to make things better for our students,” Aslesen said.
He said he’s especially looking forward to details on the proposed new high school building. Specifically, he would be interested in becoming a member of the steering committee in the future.
“Absolutely. I want to spend some time looking at the proposed new high school and the different options are,” Aslesen said.
Olson also said she was looking forward to getting down to business during her final term.
“I think it’s pretty exciting,” Olson said of the start of his new three-year term. “Obviously we’re working on things to improve education and I think it’s exciting to be a part of that. There are decisions to be made and things to be done. »
Culhane was also sworn in as council clerk.
English Curriculum Review
Part of the organizational meeting was spent preparing for the assignment of board members to various committees for the 2022-23 school year. Board members are regularly assigned to various committees to serve as a liaison between the Board and their assigned committee.
One such committee that will be appointed is the English Language Arts Committee, which will help develop the ELA curriculum over the next two years. The adoption of the next set of ELA standards for the Mitchell School District will take effect for the 2024-25 school year.
Joe Graves, superintendent of the Mitchell School District, said the curriculum committee is working to merge state standards with the materials and teaching techniques that will work best with students in the Mitchell School District.
“It really starts with state standards,” Graves told the Mitchell Republic after the meeting. “We’re looking at state standards for English and based on those, we’re asking how to operationalize this in each school and the different courses we teach.”
The committee then reviews books and materials from various companies and selects those they believe will be best for teaching state standards in a way that students with diverse learning styles can better understand. Graves said.
Two board members will be assigned to the ELA program committee. The district regularly revises the curriculum, with the ELA, math, science, and social studies curriculum each taking two years to fully revise. Graves said that can make it a long mission for those on the committee.
“(It is made up of) teachers and administrators, and some parents are also invited. It’s problematic, for (an exam) as big as ELA, we’ll have parents who want to take part and that’s great, but then it becomes such a time-consuming undertaking,” Graves said. “So it’s difficult, but we also try to involve some parents. But teachers are the main driver, as they should be. »
Committee assignments are filled at the request of school board members, with the board chair appointing members to any vacancies that lacked volunteers. The final rounds of committee assignments are expected to be filled out at upcoming board meetings.
The Board approved the following staff moves:
- The new classified hires of Maghan Puetz, administrative assistant/attendance secretary at Mitchell Middle School, $15 per hour at 8 hours per day, effective August 3; Grisly Escriba Valsaquez, food service chef at LB Williams Elementary School, $15 an hour at 5.5 hours a day, starting Aug. 8; Larry Gromer, maintenance, $17 per hour at 8 hours per day, beginning July 12 and Hailey Robbins, paraeducator at LB Williams Elementary School, $14.25 per hour at 7 hours per day, at from August 15.
- The resignation of maintenance worker Rick Hornaman, effective July 15.
- New Mitchell Technical College hires Ashley Alarcon, X-ray technology instructor, $57,600; Noah Brinkman, wind turbine technology instructor, $61,900; James Bultje, Information Systems Technology Instructor, $54,000; Heather Koth, accounting/business management instructor, $54,918 and Amber Krcil, radiological technology instructor, $57,600. All hires are effective August 1.
Also at the meeting, the board:
- Approved the resolution for allocation of interest earned.
- Heard reports and comments from Board members.
- I heard the superintendent’s report.
- Public comment heard.