School board says goodbye to two

Wednesday, August 13, 2014
Pictured after the school board meeting Monday night are, from left, seated, Director of Schools Jackie Abernathy, Mike Keny, and Barbara Kennedy; standing, Ken Lilly, Donnie Moses, Kristen Gold, Randy Perryman, Susan Hunter, and Sheryl McClintock.

By Karen Hall

Editor

Two school board members attended their last meeting Monday night. Mike Keny decided not to run again, and, in the only contested school-board race, Barbara Kennedy lost her seat.

"Together they have given 20 years to the children of Marshall County," said Director of Schools Jackie Abernathy. Keny served from 1992 to 1998, was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Tim Harrison in 2008, and was elected in 2010. He has been chairman of the school board since 2009. Kennedy served from 1999 to 2002, was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Todd Tietgens in 2009, and was elected in 2010. She was chairman of the school board from 2000 to 2002.

"I salute you, and thank you for all that you have done for the Marshall County school system," said Abernathy.

"Thank you to everybody! I've made so many friends here," said Keny. "We've got so many dedicated employees, and it takes each and every one of you to make things go. We've got a great school system, and I think we're going in the right direction."

He thanked the voters for electing him, and his family for supporting him.

Keny's advice to the two new board members was, "Don't be scared!"

One of the new board members is Keny's sister, Julie Brewer, who ran unopposed for his seat in the 5th District. The other is John Daniel Allen, who defeated Kennedy in the 6th District. The other board members whose terms were up this year -- Donnie Moses and Kristen Gold -- were re-elected without opposition.

The school year is off to a good start, said Marshall County Education Association President Nicky Randolph. She reported MCEA provided lunch for the new teachers on their orientation day, and had 26 new members sign up.

"We're looking forward to a good year," she said.

New administrators were introduced to board members.

"They have worked really, really hard," said Abernathy. "We had a great opening week. Everybody has settled in."

Board members were given the numbers of students who started school last week, but Abernathy said the enrollment figures would be more accurate after Labor Day.

"Right now they're still coming and going," she said.

Board member Ken Lilly pointed out they should check the figures against the projections they used to plan the school building program. Chapel Hill Elementary School's enrollment is lower than the predicted number, Forrest High School is on track, but Forrest Middle School has 40 more students than the board anticipated.

"One year does not make a trend," Lilly noted.

Abernathy said she was keeping a close eye on pupil-teacher ratios and, so far, everything was OK.

Construction at the Lewisburg elementary schools is on schedule, Abernathy reported, as she asked board members to approve the payment of Orion Building Corporation's bills. Oak Grove and Marshall Elementary should be ready to move into in November, and Westhills in December.

Board members approved Abernathy's request to hire a crossing guard at Marshall Elementary School, which has become necessary because of the construction going on there.

"Janet (Wiles) says we can find the money," she reported. The problem may be finding someone who wants the job. The crossing guard at Cornersville Elementary quit, and that position is posted, but so far, reported Principal Cheryl Ewing, there have been no applicants.

"We haven't had anybody even inquire," exclaimed Ewing.

The crossing-guard jobs were jokingly suggested to Keny and Kennedy, and Kennedy's last official act on the board was making the motion to adjourn the meeting.