Willow board offers administrative contracts; new resource officer hired

The Willow Springs school district likely will see the return of all administrators following the school board’s regular monthly meeting on Feb. 13. 
The 2022-2023 saw new administrators including the school superintendent, building principals, and assistant building principals. 
At the January meeting, the board extended the contract of employment to Dr. Marty Spence, superintendent, through the 2024-2025 school year. 
At the February meeting, the board agreed to offer contracts of employment to the following administrators for the 2023-2024 school year: Chris Rodgers, elementary principal; Logan Schwalm, assistant elementary principal; Jon Johnson, middle school principal; Chris Cochran, assistant middle school principal; Nick Schmitt, high school principal; and Dustin Forrest, assistant high school principal. Also offered administrative contracts were Marlena Barker, special education director; Robert James, athletic director; and Chris Waggoner, curriculum coordinator. 
The board further approved Jeff Cunningham as the school resource officer and director of school security. Cunningham resigned from his position on the school board in December and was replaced on the board by Debbie Bryan in a special meeting Feb. 6. Superintendent Spence confirmed that longtime school resource officer Glen Moore has moved to part-time status with the district, while working full-time for the Missouri School Board Association.
Also, the board approved two additional school protection officers, bringing the number in the district to four. Spence explained the four school protection officers are trained through the MSBA program and by Officer Moore and are allowed to carry firearms. 
In other business:
-The board heard an update from Patty Siler and members of the high school Interact Club, affiliated with Rotary International. The club practices the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” through numerous service projects. Projects in the past year included packaging hygiene kits with Convoy of Hope, which were shipped abroad to Syria and Turkey; preparing food bags with the local food pantry, MUNCH; and providing 49 Thanksgiving baskets to assist 118 Willow Springs students.
 -Chris Waggoner presented information on the balanced scorecard and the district assessment plan. Of note, Waggoner stated district assessment shows that 38 percent of kindergarten students are ready for school at the beginning of the year. Board members Brent Colley and Jeff Lovan questioned Waggoner about what that means for students. “So we’re already behind, if only 38 percent are ready for school?” asked Colley. “We’re behind before we even get started,” added Lovan. Waggoner said he hopes to present further information at future meetings to detail whether students in the 38 percent have attended the district’s preschool program or what preparation they might have received.
-Food service director Regina Roberts presented an update on the food service program, including a farm-to-table grant the district is seeking. The grant would provide fresh beef in cooperation with the district’s agriculture program. Students would feed and care for the animals, with students paid to care for the cattle, while providing fresh beef for food service.
-The board approved summer school dates of May 30 through June 22. The board also approved the 2023-2024 school calendar, which is a traditional five-day school week. The district will have only a three-day holiday for Thanksgiving, instead of a full week off.
-Expenditures approved by the board included the audit proposal by current auditing firm Thomas & Douglas for $16,000, along with one new school route bus for $114,392 and one new activity bus for $135,270.
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