Board fills elementary positions

by nathan oster

Personnel issues were the focal point of a special meeting Monday night of the Big Horn County School District No. 3 board of trustees.

The board accepted four resignations, including:

• Brittany Miller, who has been serving as the district’s elementary physical education teacher, activities director and head high school volleyball coach. She has accepted a position with the school district in Worland, where she and her husband reside.

• Jeff Hunt, from his assistant middle school track coaching position.

• Jared Collingwood, from his assistant high school football coaching position.

•Kerri Thiel, from her assistant high school girls basketball coaching position. The board recently agreed to place her on a one-year leave, citing her desire to return to the position.  But Thiel has since had a change of heart and wanted it to be considered a resignation.

There were a few arrivals to go with the departures — and all of the new hires will work at the elementary school.

Michaela Williams was hired as the new elementary counselor, Tess Reed was hired as an elementary special education teacher and Mary Packard got the nod for the elementary custodial position, which is for the remainder of the current school year and the 2013-14 school year.

In one final act, the board agreed to add an additional elementary special education teacher to the 2013-14 staffing plan.  Supt. Barry Bryant cited the current special needs enrollment and the recent arrival of another high-needs student as the rationale behind the new position.

Bryant said the district could have hired a paraprofessional, but that his recommendation was to hire a certified teacher.  “We will be able to provide more services … and also help some other special education compliance issues,” Bryant said in his staff report.

The additional position would cost the district around $80,000 the first year.  Beyond that, it would be a reimbursable expense, as special education costs are covered by the state.