By CLINT FOSTER
Tuesday evening was a special night for the Mineral Wells ISD Board of Trustees, despite the label of a “regular meeting” at the District Services Complex.
Students and faculty from all over the school district celebrated School Board Appreciation Day, with many offering presentations in honor of the men and women who sacrifice so much of their time to the board for the benefit of the youth of Mineral Wells.
The evening began with a spotlight on Lamar Elementary School and their reading workshop. Students Caitlyn Jorgensen, Mylie Sanchez and Caroline Shoemaker led the room in the pledges of allegiance to the US and Texas flags and then read short stories for the school board they wrote as part of the school’s workshop.
Next, students from Mineral Wells High School, led by Principal Jon Almeida, presented the school board with a framed collage in the image of the Ram logo, titled “3,326 Reasons Why” and gave each member a gift basket.
The collage featured photos of each and every one of the 3,326 students in MWISD.
The school board also heard presentations from each school’s librarian and Superintendent Dr. Gail Haterius presented the District’s Certificate of Appreciation to the board.
Finally, Lamar Elementary School Principal Melissa Murphy unveiled brand new portraits for board members Greg Malone and Sunny Gail Lee to join the existing portraits of Haterius and the other board members in the District Services Complex. Like the existing portraits, the new ones were done in a mosaic style by the students of Leslie Barham and Sabrena Potts at Lamar Elementary.
Before presenting her “Hearts and Hands” certificates to the board, Dr. Haterius read the following:
“School board members donate many hours of their time – preparing for meetings, attending meetings and attending school-related functions and events,” she said. “The word ‘donate’ is an important one in that sentence; school board members are volunteers, receiving no pay for the work they do to help our school district. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their willingness to serve.
“Whether the work involves stretching the district’s dollars as far as humanly possible, taking the time to understand complicated legislation affecting our schools or speaking up to help community members see the vision of what can be provided for our children – it takes both the heart and the hands to make a valuable school board member in a community.”
Humbled by the outpouring of appreciation, School Board President Joe Ruelas implied what he does for the school district is all in a day’s work.
“I just try to do my part to make a better environment for our teachers, administrators and kids,” he said. “It makes it easier for everyone involved.”
Chief among the school board’s accomplishments this past year was the passage of a $25 million bond that will pay to build a new campus for Lamar Elementary, a new track for MWHS and improve Mineral Wells Junior High, among other things.
After the meeting, Dr. Haterius said Mineral Wells is nothing short of lucky to have such exceptional school board members.
“(We have) a very fine group of dedicated individuals who are serving their school district,” she said. “I appreciate the opportunity to work with them for the benefit of our kids and our teachers.”
In other business, the school board:
• Recognized their Partners in Education for the month of January: Owner and Operator of Kwik Kar, Steve Salmon, and Service Advisor and Technician at Jack Powell Ford, Ken Netterville. Both men are integral parts of MWHS’ Career and Technology Education program.
• Heard the President’s Report and Superintendent’s Report. In her report, Dr. Haterius mentioned that Travis Elementary is leading all MWISD schools in attendance and highlighted the district’s Celebration of Excellence in Writing, pointing out writing samples on display from students at each MWISD school.
• Heard and approved the district’s Audit Report for 2012-2013 from Gary Snow of Snow Garrett Williams Certified Public Accountants. Snow said MWISD received a clean audit and scored 100 percent.
• Approved hiring Snow Garrett Williams as the district’s audit firm again for 2013-2014, per Chief Financial Officer Paul Hearn’s recommendation.
• Granted a special warranty deed for the Little Rock Schoolhouse to the Mineral Wells Heritage Association.
• Heard a presentation from Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assesment Carey Carter concerning STAAR Testing and Accountability. Carter said test scores are good.