Three Sullivan schools get $300,000 in reading grants

Rick Wagner • Updated Sep 15, 2015 at 6:55 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Thanks to the work and perseverance of two Sullivan County schools central office employees, three schools are sharing almost $300,000 in reading program grants.

The Board of Education Monday unanimously approved three Focus School Grants awarded from Tennessee. The grants will fund reading programs at Bluff City Elementary, Blountville Middle and Sullivan Gardens K-8, including instruction assistants.

Those three schools were designed as Focus Schools by the state, meaning they need to make improvements in student performance or achievement.

The personnel funding, combined with equipment and software, means that the three schools will receive just less than $100,000 each for each of the three reading programs.

Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski said credit goes to Angie Buckles, supervisor of special education services, and Robin McClellan, supervisor of curriculum and instruction, for their work in applying for the grants.

In other action, the board:

•Awarded tenure, as recommended by Rafalowski, for four teachers.

To get tenure, the teachers had to score either a 4 or 5 on evaluations, done on a scale of 1 to 5. They also had to have worked five years for the Sullivan County system.

The required scores were “above expectations,” a 4, or “significantly above expectations,” a 5, for 2013-14 and for 2014-15.

The four newly tenured teachers are Adam Hughes of Colonial Heights Middle, Kathryn Kind of North Middle, Jennifer Webb Morgan of Mary Hughes and Selena Milam of Indian Springs Elementary.

Adam Hughes is the son of county school board member Michael Hughes, who along with the four building principals and retired Colonial Heights Middle Principal Randy Gilmore stood beside the newly tenured teachers, except for Webb-Morgan, who is on maternity leave.

•Awarded the contract for construction of a greenhouse at Sullivan South High School to Beuris Construction Inc., with a 40-day construction window that will allow the project to be done well before needed for a new greenhouse class to start in January. The low bid was $28,747.

•Approved the detailed contract for Rafalowski. The four-year contract pays her $124,800 annually and ties future pay increases to what teachers receive in coming years, although the board can choose to give her more.

She also receives a system-issued cell phone and a monthly car allowance of $650, and under the contract she must move from Mount Carmel, in Hawkins County, to Sullivan County by June of 2016.