Board still searching for district leader

With the last regularly scheduled board meeting of 2012 behind them, the Muscogee County School District did not name finalists for the superintendent search Monday night at the Muscogee County Public Education Center.

Board chairwoman Cathy Williams called the process "ongoing" after an executive session lasted less than 30 minutes.

The board is seeking to replace Susan Andrews, who announced in March that she would retire. She left the district in June. John Phillips Jr. has been serving as interim.

Four finalists met with the board last Wednesday for a full day of interviews.

For two board members, Monday's regularly scheduled board meeting was their last. The board passed resolutions honoring Norene Marvets and James Walker, who lost their bids for re-election in November.

Walker is being replaced in District 3 by Athavia Senior.

Marvets is being replaced by Shannon Heflin in District 7.

Board member John Wells called Walker a "very important person."

Of Marvets, Wells said that when she joined the board she brought a "fresh look to District 7." He called her a hard worker.

In other business

The board approved $83,000 to build a catwalk above the acoustical tile ceiling in the Northside High School auditorium. It will allow easier access to the Variable Air Volume system, which involves heating and cooling.

Gary Gibson, chief administrative assistant to the superintendent, was approved as the school district's representative to the city's Recreation Advisory Board.

Several donations were approved: Norene Marvets gave $600 for pole banners at Marshall Middle School; the Global Association of Buffalo Soldiers Recognition Riding Club gave $1,000 for an enhance learning experience for transitioning students at Johnson Elementary School; Tractor Supply Company gave $1,500 for automotive tools at Carver High School; the Junior League of Columbus gave $2,000 for fitness equipment at Wynnton Elementary; the Allstate Foundation gave $1,000 for student awards at Marshall Middle School; the Columbus Shrine Club gave $2,750 for student supplies for bands at high schools Carver, Columbus, Jordan Northside and Shaw as well as the dance team at Hardaway; and the Britt David PTA gave $4,585 for student awards at the school.

Theresa El-Amin, regional project director for the Southern Anti-Racism Network (SARN), made a presentation to the Muscogee County School board on the "Building a Village" project launched in September 2012.

She said the strategic priorities of the program include parental support, high expectations for all students, academic and social support services, early childhood learning opportunities and teacher quality retention and support.The presentation by El-Amin included a short video clip of the Strong Parental Involvement in Community Education program initiated by the Southern Anti-Racism Network in Durham, N.C., in 2001. The SPICE program is a family literacy class that uses computers to teach reading. Successful graduates of the six-week class receive home computers. El-Amin would like to see something similar here.

"I'm so encouraged by the support from all sectors of the Columbus community. We will build a village in support of student achievement. And we will increase parental involvement as a major component of the process." El-Amin said.