April 4, 2018

School board addresses resignations

By Suzanne Werre
The Underwood School Board is well into making plans for the upcoming school year, but the resignations of two long-time staff members just added more to their plates.
The board accepted the letters of resignation from Dean of Students Toni Cottingham and Special Education Teacher Mary Hefta at Tuesday’s meeting, both of which are effective at the conclusion of the school year.
Two other teachers, Special Education teacher Jelena Barfield and first-grade teacher Randi Swanson did not turn in renewal contracts as well, noted Supt. Brandt Dick, and those positions will also need to be filled for the coming school year.
With the resignation of Cottingham at Dean of Students, who took on many of the duties of Elementary and Secondary Principal Lee Weisgarber, the board discussed what should be done to fill that position, touching on different options. One would be to hire a new Dean of Students; the second option would be to hire an assistant principal to Weisgarber; and the third option is to go back to what the school formerly had, an elementary principal and a secondary principal.
The elementary teachers have indicated that they don’t feel there is enough administrative presence on the elementary side of the school, noted Dick.
“It probably would be good to look at trying to find an elementary principal and then Lee would be adjusted to Secondary Principal,” said Dick. “The elementary teachers have felt there hasn’t been the presence, and because a lot of time secondary takes more time.”

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