The Bryan County Board of Education thanked long time members Frances Meeks and Billy Mock for their years of service during the last meeting of the year Thursday night at the BoE office in Pembroke.
Meeks and Mock were the guests of honor at a dinner hosted by BoE personnel before the monthly meeting and were given plaques to commemorate their years of service.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Sallie Brewer thanked Mock and Meeks for their volunteered time with the school board and for their dedication to Bryan County schools and education.
"We appreciate all you’ve done and thank you for the time you put in," Brewer said.
Mock, who taught for 31 years before joining the board for 21-1/2 years said he stuck with it through good times and bad.
"I’m the stingy one, but I think you have to be to keep (expenses) down. All of you have been really good to me, and I thank you," he said.
Meeks, who spent 32 years with Bryan County as a teacher and administrator, has eight years on the school board as Vice-Chair and more than 50 years education experience overall. She said she has enjoyed every day of her career in Bryan County and that being in education and on the board is not about the money, it’s about children.
"I have had a wonderful career in Bryan County. It’s all been about the children. Thank you all for the support I’ve had. I’ll be getting into something else because I’m going to have time on my hands. I’ll still be around," she said.
New board member Dennis Seger will fill Mock’s seat while Charlie Johnson will be filling Jeff Morton’s seat. Morton will replace Meeks as vice-chairman. Each were sworn in earlier Thursday by Probate Judge Sam Davis in a separate, small ceremony at the Bryan County Courthouse and will begin their positions after the first of the new year.
Additional business included good news about Bryan County schools presented by Brewer to Bryan County High School, Richmond Hill Middle School, Richmond Hill Primary School, Lanier Primary School and Bryan County Elementary School.
BCHS, RHMS AND RHPS were recognized as 2008 Single Statewide Accountability Award winners. The SSAS award is granted by the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement and awarded based on three criteria, including the need to stay clear of "needs improvement status," at least 20% of students exceed standards in all test areas measured by state assessments and, place in the 95th percentile or higher statewide in greatest student achievement gains.
- BCHS won the bronze SSAS award. School Princicpal Harold Roach said they won the award because of increased graduation test scores and that the teachers did a tremendous job.
"It was truly a team effort. Overall, our scores were up by 17 percent in social studies, science and writing. I’m very proud of them all," he said.
- RHMS won silver. RHMS Principal Helen Herndon said her school’s test scores were up 4.48 percent and that it was a total staff effort that earned them the award.
- RHPS won bronze. Principal Mary Ann Tiedemann said the award was for having 98 percent of the students at or above standard level.
"I really appreciate everything the board does for the schools and teachers," she said. "The smart boards we use in the class rooms have made a big difference."
LPS and BCES both won 2008-2009 Title I Distringuished Shools Award as recognition for making the grade with AYP. Lanier has won the award for 7 years, while BCES has won 4 years.
The board also approved the dates and locations for the 2009 board meetings after changing meeting times to 6:30 p.m. and the location of next year’s December meeting to BCHS instead of the BoE office due to space issues.
One public comment was heard from Richmond Hill resident Jeff Wise who was concerned about the management of SPLOST projects, citing particularly the baseball netting recently replaced behind the Richmond Hill High School at an approved cost of $18,000.
"The net was recently replaced, but it’s already beginning to fall. I’m worried about the safety of the children. What if one of them gets hit by a baseball that goes through the falling net?" Wise asked."Taxpayers want to make sure they are getting proper quality on project completion for the money being spent." Meeks assured Wise that the matter would be handled.