Gifford for rotator March 28

An artist’s rendering of Gifford Grade School. The school faces having to replace the roof due to leakage.

GIFFORD — The Gifford school board has begun interviews with candidates for the school’s new principal.

Board President Michael Schluter said the board had several interviews scheduled this week and next for the new hire, who will step in to start the 2018-19 school year.

Rod Grimsley has held down the school’s principal and superintendent positions since 2011. Grimsley, however, plans to retire at the end of next school year, and the new hire is a means of easing into that transition.

"We knew Rod’s last year is next year," Schluter said. "Since we’re a school with a one-person administrative role," the board thought the hiree would be better off working a year beside Grimsley in the event the new principal is also hired as superintendent later.

Schluter said Grimsley has told the board for the past four years that he plans to make the 2018-19 year his last.  

The district accepted applications for the principal’s position until March 20. Schluter said the board received a number of good applications out of the approximately 30 that were sent in.

"The pool was very good," Schluter said. "It was kind of tough narrowing it down."

Applications have been received from "all over," he said, with the majority coming from within 200 miles of Gifford.

"I think a lot of people who applied ... are from small towns. They know how a small town operates."

New board member

At least week’s monthly meeting, the board approved Traci Harris to fill a vacant seat on the board. She will complete a term ending in April 2019.

The board had held a special meeting prior to the regular meeting to interview candidates for the seat.

Only candidates living inside Gifford were eligible for the seat. Schluter said the school district regulations began requiring a certain number of in-town residents and out-of-town residents on the board after the

Penfield area was brought into the district several years ago. He said there were three applicants for the vacant seat.

A Gifford native, Harris attended Gifford Grade School. Schluter said Harris and her husband have two children, one of whom is a kindergarten student at Gifford.

Roof problems

The school district faces an expensive proposition in having to either replace the roof membrance or totally replace the roof.

The primary problem has been water damage to the south wall of the old gymnasium from leakage.

Grimsley said the wall is beginning to bow.

The district’s architect has looked at the roof, and a structural engineer will also examine the problem "to see what can be done to solve the problem," Grimsley said.

"We’ve kind of known that since after the (2013) tornado" that roof work would be needed, Schluter said, noting the twister caused some damage that was patched.

The board approved an agreement with Reifsteck Reid architects to conduct a site visit on the perimeters of the gymnasium and to assess the condition structurally at a cost not to exceed $3,900.

An amendment was also approved with the company at a cost of $8,500 for the scope of work for a roof replacement on the small gymnasium to be either repaired or replaced.

Other business

The board also learned this year’s scholastic bowl team is composed of five eighth-grade students, seven seventh-graders, one sixth-grader and four fifth-graders.

The team is scheduled to compete in nine meets, with two of those being held at Gifford.

The varsity (seventh/eighth) has won five meets and lost one, and the JV (fifth/sixth) has won three meets and lost one.

The team’s varsity coach is Jennifer Nugent. Tammy Pollard is the junior varsity coach.

In other extracurricular items, the track team has 33 students, with 21 boys and 12 girls.

Coaches are Cecelia Vermillion and Vicki Maxwell.

Thirty-four Gifford students will participate in the IESA solo and ensemble contest April 14 at St. Joseph Middle School.

School board meeting dates were set for 2018-19. Meetings are normally held at 6 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month at the school. The September and January meetings will be held on the fourth Tuesday.

The board also:

• Authorized the hiring of Russell Leigh and Associates to conduct the district’s annual audit for the 2018 fiscal year.

• Approved the 2018-19 school calendar. Classes will start Aug. 15 with a half day of attendance. The final day of class will be May 23 if no snow days are used.

• Approved the modified calendar for this school year, which will end May 23. Graduation will be May 18.

• Approved the rehiring of non-tenured teachers Allison Barnes (kindergarten), Tammy Pollard (computers), Bobbie Mills (math and reading interventionist), Tara Segall (junior high science and sixth grade), Cathy Dunafin (music, chorus and band) and Andi Staten (special education).

• Approved student teacher Hsin-Jui-Tsai for speech with Ashley Breeden.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com