Lyndon USD 421 superintendent’s resignation accepted

LYNDON—After a 90-minute executive session, the USD 421 Board of Education accepted the resignation of superintendent Cheryl Cook.

The resignation was accepted during the Oct. 12 regular meeting, but Cook will continued to serve through the remainder of the school year, which ends June 30, 2017.

Cook began her position with the district July 1, 2015, the beginning of the 2015-16 school year.

Professional development

Brad Marcotte, Lyndon High School principal, and Jennifer Hamlet, Lyndon Elementary and Middle School principal, provided the board with an update from the professional development day Oct. 10.

Marcotte explained that the five “R”s of the new accreditation system – relationships, relevance, responsive culture, rigor and results. The focus of the day was on relationships and relevance. The professional development day in January will focus on responsive culture and rigor.

“Every school in the State of Kansas is going through what they, the Kansas State Department of Education, are calling a zero year,” Marcotte said. “It’s basically a starting point for each district to look at how they are doing and how far they have to go. As part of that, the districts have to go through a needs assessment.”

“The first two, relationships and relevance, we had a needs assessment rubrics on each one that the staff went through,” Marcotte said. “There were some glaring, glaring points that we saw when they did this.”

“On relationships, we got marked down pretty hard on mentoring,” Marcotte said. “Another thing in the relationships category is on evaluation of family engagement.”

“What stood out is curriculum,” Marcotte said. “We feel we could use some help with and do a better job of is work with curriculum. Another thing was technology.”

“I did some research today and looked at different people’s curriculum director,” Hamlet stated.

Hamlet explained that she and Marcotte both do a lot of things.

“Sometimes with curriculum, you may have to sit in your office and just research and research and go to conferences,” Hamlet said.

Hamlet said the principals would be required to leave during regular school days.

“It doesn’t have to happen quickly, but even just a half-time curriculum specialist or curriculum director would take our instructions curriculum for our teachers to a higher level,” Hamlet said. “Some of the things I put on here is the person could look at the curriculum instruction to make sure our curriculum is aligned, be the head of our textbook committee, head up our mentor program, and would work with Brad and I on these things.”

“Who is the ideal type of candidate for this type of position?” Eric Ratzloff, board member, asked.

Hamlet provided examples like a retired principal or someone who has the qualifications that does not want to work full-time right now due to other obligations.

“In bigger schools, do the vice-principals do this kind of thing?” Ratzloff asked.

“They have their own curriculum director. too,” said Bob Knoernschild, board president.

“We love small schools,” Marcotte said. “Small schools are great. I am luckily at a small school. I deliberately want my kids to be in a small school. It just requires us to wear a lot of hats.”

“We try to do the best that we can,” Hamlet said. “We just felt like this would be a way to take our academics truly to the next level.”

In other business, the board:

• heard from Ann Mah, candidate for Kansas State Board of Education District Four, and Anthony Hensley, state senator for the 19th District.

• introduced to Tangela Moore, who is teaching sixth grade math, social studies and fourth grade keyboarding.

• heard from Ron Groff, who said he will be retiring and recommended that the board use a broker to handle the endowment investments after Oct. 31. The board thanked Groff for his many years of fine service.

• discussed scheduling a time for facility committee to meet.

• members Melissa Herdman, Dave Brecheisen and Lori Sturdy volunteered to serve on the insurance committee to negotiate the Blue Cross and Blue Shield contract expired in 2017.

• received an overview of the $86,000 salary increase due to filling two vacant positions and one new position and $67,000 in insurance premium increases.

• received report from Hamlet on the mental math students, which brought home two first place plaques, one for the elementary school and one for the middle school, for the first time. There were a total of 75 students competing at the competition.

• approved longevity pay starting for the 2016-17 year for classified, certified and Rule 10 employees.

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The Osage County Herald-Chronicle

The official newspaper of Osage County; the cities of Burlingame, Carbondale, Lyndon, Melvern, Olivet, Osage City, Overbrook, Quenemo and Scranton; Burlingame USD 454, Lyndon USD 421, Marais des Cygnes Valley USD 456, Osage City USD 420 and Santa Fe Trail USD 434.

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