Cherokee School Board addresses employee appeal

by Nov 18, 2021NEWS ka-no-he-da0 comments



One Feather Staff


The Cherokee Central Schools Board of Education held their second November meeting on Monday, Nov. 15.

Most of the meeting was held in closed session to discuss an ‘employee appeal’. The Board moved into closed session around 6 p.m. and the meeting was not complete until approximately 10 p.m., according to School Board assistant Terri Bradley.

Because the appeal was directly related to personnel, legally the Board was required to host that part of the meeting in a closed session. The Board also had an attorney present for the proceedings.

While in open session, the Board welcomed several guests. The first of which was Jen Martens, who was tasked with providing a walk-through of the CCS strategic innovation plan. This plan was detailed over the summer with the School Board, but they wanted to ensure that the newer members of the Board had seen the presentation and had a chance to ask any questions.

Next was Olivia Penny, who is a master’s student at Western Carolina University and works as a teacher at Cherokee Middle School. She is doing research on special education and is currently working on a project that studies the transitional support for parents of children with moderate to severe disabilities.

“Parents have their children with disabilities get to adulthood and then every bit of service that they’ve had during the school years stops. So, they end getting out of school, their child does, and the parents are left without much of a support system,” said Penny.

She said that the research on this subject is limited and that there was no data for Native American families. She was given permission from the school to start this research with CCS, and she was presenting her early findings to the Board as an update. The Board offered their support and said they would like future follow-ups from Penny.

The Cherokee Boys Club Board of Directors was the next group to address the School Board. They reintroduced themselves to the School Board and had a round table discussion. Chairperson Jennifer Thompson said that she was excited to see the level of communication between the two boards and said that it was not long ago when there was almost no coordination between them. They agreed that consistent meetings would be a boon to both entities moving forward.

Following the extended closed session, the Board met with Robert Saunooke to discuss the Christmas Bazaar that is set for the first weekend of December. Saunooke and Ned Stamper, under the name “Brothers in the Wind”, have organized the Bazaar at the Cherokee Fairgrounds for Kindergarten through 8th Grade.

The Christmas Bazaar will be held just for CCS children on Dec. 1 and 2. The Bazaar will then be open to the public on Dec. 3 and 4. On those days anyone can attend, and all proceeds from the event will go to getting Christmas presents for Cherokee Elementary Schools.

The consent agenda was passed unanimously with no significant discussion. The Board approved the following items:

  • Anne Link as a 5th Grade Elementary Teacher
  • Tamara Kelly as Elementary Academic Interventionist
  • Phillip Ayers as Elementary STARS Teachers
  • Shannon Smith as Middle School ELA Teacher
  • Emily Thurmond as an Elementary School Teacher
  • Trent Wolfe as a Custodian
  • Rebecca Swayney as a Pre-K Teacher
  • Erin Marley as a Middle School SPED Teacher
  • Jessica Queen as a substitute teacher at the Middle School
  • Bonnie Morgan as a substitute teacher at the Middle School

One piece of old business was handled from the Nov. 1 meeting of the Board. They discussed a tabled item in closed session, and upon opening voted 4-2 to approve Rayna Davis as a licensed professional counselor at CCS.

The Monday, Nov. 1 meeting of the CCS Board of Education was called to order at 4:45 p.m. with Chairperson Jennifer Thompson; Co-Vice Chairs Tara Reed-Cooper and Melanie Lambert; Secretary Kristina Hyatt; Board members Regina Ledford Rosario and Berdie Toineeta; Assistant Superintendent Beverly Payne; HR Director Heather Driver; and Administrative Assistant Terri Bradley all in attendance. Tribal Council Rep. Bo Crowe was late to the meeting. Superintendent Michael Murray was absent from the meeting.

The next meeting of the School Board is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 6 at 4:45 p.m. Meetings are being held in the conference room of the new administrative building on the CCS campus. These sessions are considered public meetings and are open to public attendance except for closed sessions.