Students at Jenkins Middle High School have a new principal as the Jenkins Independent Schools Board of Education announced the hiring of a new principal at its November meeting.
David Lee, a semi-retired educator from Wise County Va., has been hired to fill the post vacated by former Principal Lisa Barker who left “suddenly and unexpectedly” in October. Lee has a total of 33 years’ experience in education, including 25 years as an English teacher and eight years as assistant principal at Powell Valley High School. He also served as assistant principal and girls’ basketball coach at Norton City Schools after his initial retirement.
Lee said he is pleased with what he has seen at Jenkins so far. He de- scribed himself as an “academic pusher” and said he is looking at every possible way to improve academics at Jenkins MHS. He added that he is still getting to know the students and staff but sees excellent potential at Jenkins and added that in the three weeks he has been on-site, he has focused on strategies to improve all areas with weekly teacher development workshops and departments working together to improve scores.
“I saw a great opportunity at Jenkins and came out of retirement,” said Lee. “Jenkins has a good feel to it and it is a good opportunity.”
Lee told the board he hopes to double the number of dual core students (students taking classes at Pikeville University as well as JMS) from eight to 16 and asked the board to consider hiring a math coordinator to teach math, act as department head, and work with other math teachers. Federal Programs Director Sherry Wright told the board there is adequate funding in her budget to make the hire and the board voted unanimously in favor of Lee’s request.
Lee also said he has asked math teachers to use Khan Academy, an online educational website with more than 2,700 educational videos in math, science and humanities, as a tool to supplement their classroom instruction. Lee praised the site for its math instruction and said it is an excellent tool for math teachers to use because it allows instruction based on individual need at no cost. He said the lessons are “pace based,” and allow students to learn math concepts at their own pace.
In other business, the board shone its “Student Staff Spotlight” on the district champion middle school girls’ basketball team. Coach Ester Tucker told the board the team had an average margin of victory of 20 points and only lost five games this season. Tucker introduced Assistant Coach Kyla Stambaugh and the entire squad to the board. The squad members who attended the meeting are: Taylor Johnson, Makayla Seals, Alyssa Hibbits, Mackenzie Gibson, Lexie Stambaugh, Emma Maggard, Emily Maggard, Mattie Sergeant, Alyssa Rose, Kayla Edson, Courtney Lewis, and Captain Whitney Creech, who has scored more than 800 points.
Superintendent Deborah Watts announced that three JMS students, Samantha Potter, Allison Goodson, and Erica Wright, have been chosen for All-State Band. Watts also said teachers are receiving instruction on teaching literacy in math in the new curriculum and said staff are looking at individual learning plans to use homework to increase graduation rates. She added that teachers are working to include technological instruction in every lesson in an effort to “imbed instructional technology” and to enhance meaningful assignments.
Superintendent Watts also announced a classified vacancy, grades 7-12, for physical education and health and a vacancy for 21st century site coordinator. Watts added that the 21st century position is likely to be phased out after this school year.
Elementary Principal Gracie Maggard told the board the Burdine Elementary STLP (student leadership technology program) Team has qualified for the state competition and invited parents and board members to follow the team through the STLP link on the Burdine Elementary website.
In other board business:
• The board voted unanimously to move the December meeting to December 19 at 6 p.m. in the library of Jenkins Middle High School. The change was to accommodate the Christmas holidays.
• The board voted unanimously to accept the Kentucky Educational Technology System (KETS) offer of $5,876. Technology Director Damien Johnson told the board the money will require a match from the school system and that most of his budget will come from the KETS offers and the board’s matching funds. He said a second offer of around $5,000 will be made next spring.
• The board voted unanimously to accept last year’s audit, which was prepared by Whitesburg Accountant Dennis Wayne Fleming. Board Chairman Durward Narramore Jr. said the audit revealed no problems in the system. Narramore said nothing was flagged and there are no areas that have to be revisited. He added that Fleming said he would come to a later meeting to answer any questions the board may have concerning the audit.
• Director of Pupil Personnel Harvey Tackett reported 1,244 visits to school nurses on the three campuses, with Burdine topping the list at 567 visits. The McRoberts Campus had 312 and the MHS had 365. Most visits involved sore throats, allergy and cold symptoms. Attendance stood at 92.28 percent from October 20 through November 18.