Yantis ISD hires dean of student services

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In a unanimous vote at last Monday’s regular meeting, the Yantis School Board approved a standard probationary contract for Janan Straznicky to serve as the dean of student services.

The dean of student services duties will encompass a wide variety of responsibilities, with student counseling being the top priority. Straznicky has already begun work in the position which was authorized at the February board meeting.

The board also approved a one-year extension for Tracey Helfferich as the elementary school principal, a new two-year contract for Buddy Winstead as high school and middle school principal, and a contract for Belinda Brown as the business manager. Helfferich continues to serve additionally as the interim superintendent. During Brown’s briefing of the monthly financial report, Board President James VanWinkle stated, “I think we got it turned around in the right direction, and I thank you all for that.”

In order to meet the requirements of the Children’s Internet Protection Act, Helfferich noted the school monitoring policy will be revised and reissued, and the annual briefing of students on the subject of social media and bullying will be forthcoming. The law also mandates schools to monitor internet use and maintain a filtering system for access. Parents annually sign an Acceptable Use Policy which governs the use of school-supplied Chromebooks.

Yantis took a step closer to becoming a district of innovation by a unanimous approval to form a committee, to brief the board on desired outcomes, and to petition the state. The superintendent highlighted three of the possible advantages of becoming a district of innovation: control of the start date of the school year, the ability to revoke transfers at any time and the ability to employ teachers to instruct one subject outside of their trained field. As Helfferich explained, these measures place a little bit of power back in the hands of the local school board.

In other action by the board, candidates for the 2018 board election were certified to be unopposed and hence the upcoming election was cancelled by unanimous vote.

The auditing firm Rutherford Taylor and Company of Greenville was approved as the 2018-2019 auditing firm, and Superintendent Helfferich was certified to the Region VII Advisory Committee. New teacher contracts will be addressed as an action item at the April board meeting. All members of the board were present for the March meeting including Board President VanWinkle and Board Members April Johnson, Jennifer McKeever, Joni Moreland, Jeff Quinn, Melissa Stephens and Stacey Wetzel.

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