by Sally Scott Moore
Hinsdale School Board President Virden announced during the regular meeting Thursday, April 26, that the school received 13 applications for the interim principal/superintendent position being vacated by Dr. Leslie Nichols.
The board met in a special meeting earlier this week to review the applications and found four top contenders.
Two local residents made the list, as well as two out-of-town applicants. Virden listed the four finalists in alphabetical order.
* Jacquelynn Crabtree, 50, has been the principal of Cotapaxi Consolidated Schools since 2012, and prior to that Crabtree served as Title One Director from 2005 through 2012. Crabtree taught 2nd Grade 1999- 2005. She has her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from University of Colorado in Pueblo and her Masters in Educational Leadership from Adams State College in Alamosa.
* Rebecca Hall has deep roots in Lake City. She has been employed as the Lake City Community School counselor since 2008. She holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Northern Colorado, as well as having earned a University of Phoenix Master’s degree in Educational Counseling.
She is currently working on her Principal Licensure credentials at Western State Colorado University.
* Dr. John Marchino, 53, is a Colorado native. After 12 years of teaching, Marchino has served as a principal in various capacities since 1998, mostly in Durango, Colorado. For the past two years he has worked as a K-8 Principal in Hotchkiss, Colorado.
He earned his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University. In 1995, he took a Master’s Degree in Education Administration at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.
He is a 1988 graduate of University of Northern Colorado in Greeley with a BA in Physical Education and a minor in Psychology.
* Jami Scroggins has 16 years’ experience as a 2nd-5th Grade school teacher in New Mexico, Tennessee and Lake City.
She holds a BS in Biological Science and Elementary Education from Mesa State, and earned her Masters of Arts in Instructional Leadership from Tennessee Technical University.
Currently Scroggins serves as Vice President of Lake Fork Health Service District.
Candidate interviews commence at 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 7, with a mixed committee composed of board members, staff and community representatives. A “meet and greet” reception follows that evening from 5-6:30 at the Arts Center to introduce candidates to the community. The school board has scheduled a special meeting on May 10 to announce the successful candidate for the important post.
Along with routine reports and scholastic updates at the Thursday evening meeting was announcement by Virden that a Lake City School Foundation is in the planning and development stage. The as-yet unnamed Foundation is being designed as a 501(c)3 organization, making donations tax deductible.
According to Virden, “The purpose is for accessing donations in and out of the community to fund scholarships, and special ‘program’ funding.” He noted that the goal is to have all the paperwork in place by late summer and have approval of the organization as an action item on the May school board meeting.
Michelle Martin presented a Wee Care update to the board. She stated, “As collective effort, along with Phil Virden, we have been working with Wellborn and Associates to develop a proposal to go after grants and additional funding opportunities.”
Martin stated that in spite of these financial efforts for stabilization, “We still have an eye toward joining with the school.”
Other Wee Care board members, Debbie Rae and Lydia McNeese, were also present at the meeting.
Early in the meeting, Technology Integration Coach Carla Whinnery gave an update on the status of technology usage at Lake City Community School.
She recognized the support of the administration and board by regularly allocating substantial budgetary backing to the technology reserve fund. “I think of this as a savings account.”
She went on to note, “We are faced with the need to replace the devices for all the students.” Whinnery added that staff has been surveyed to assess whether they prefer iPads, Chromebooks or laptops. Chromebooks were the uniform winner at all educational grade levels. “Based on projected enrollment correlated with budget realities, costs will be over $40,000. We have planned ahead and saved, and we have the funds.”
In later meeting discussion with accountant Susan Thompson, this point was confirmed, along with the wisdom of placing the expenditure on the current budget and ordering devices so that they will be on hand in time for the 2018-19 school year.
Whinnery proceeded to enthusiastically promote integration and training for students in all areas of technological educational devices. Preparing our students to be “digital citizens,” continued Whinnery, “empowers our students. These technological advances create computational thinkers and creative communicators and global collaborators.”
Coach Richard Moore in support of this continuing trend at the local school stated, “I don’t know where my son would be right now if it weren’t for Computer Science. These courses really turned Riley on to the educational possibilities.”
Dr. Nichols noted that she had been in Grand Junction during the Friday, April 20, snow storm which triggered an extended and repeated power outage in Lake City. She added this was the first time since 1938 that the Lake City School was forced to cancel. In 1934 and again in 1938, the school closed due to a shortage of firewood.
According to Dan Wampler, the power surges did damage to school servers and a possible insurance claim is in the works. A school-wide Remind System was used to message parents and faculty of the school closure. Nichols called the experience a “good drill for us” in the emergency situation.
Unfortunate timing of the outage forced juggling of testing schedules. “Not a single complaint” was lodged with administration about the cancellation, Nichols reported, adding, “We continue to improve our emergency communications.” With the closure based on electrical problems, Nichols proudly concluded, “Lake City still has never had a snow day.”
Phil Virden announced that he is beginning to accumulate ‘Letters of Support’ for the new Lake City Community School facility. At a recent meeting with State Representative Barbara McLachlan, Virden stated he received such a missive and hopes to have a stack of similar support letters when he makes the presentation to the BEST board in mid-May.
Superintendent Nichols noted that she recently attended a BEST preparatory meeting with BEST board members in Grand Junction.
“I was able to meet all nine members.” She said that the BEST process was reviewed during the meeting. Summarizing, Nichols said, “We make our two-minute presentation on Wednesday, May 16. Our presentation will be after lunch and scheduled for 2 p.m. We are third from the end of the day.”
Nichols added, “There are 52 applicants for BEST grants this year. The nine members of the board will have already scored each applicant according to their rubrics before they hear our pitch and ask questions.”
She said that according to their BEST representative, “There is to be a vote that day on the waiver issue and we should know before we leave if Lake City receives a waiver for reduced contributory participation.”