Funding gone, NA drops Even Start

    The North Adams Community Schools' board of education approved a rash of personnel transactions Tuesday night, including the elimination of several federally-funded Even Start positions, accepting the resignation of a veteran girls tennis coach, and the filling the vacant varsity girls basketball coaching position.
    Six North Adams employees lost their jobs with the school's Even Start program when federal funding for the program was eliminated. Released from their positions as part of a Reduction In Force (RIF) effort were Even Start adult education instructor Linda Steury, and  paraprofessionals April Busse, Jennifer Dick, Anita Hirschy, Lori Matthews and Nicole Walther.
    The Even Start program offers grants to support local family literacy projects that integrate early childhood education, adult literacy, parenting education, and interactive parent and child literacy activities for low-income families. The program has been in existence at North Adams for some 20 years.
    Superintendent Wylie Sirk said the district was forced to eliminate the program, and praised the employees who had kept it running in the district. "They've been fantastic workers for us," said Sirk.
    The board also approved the hiring of a new high school and middle school band director. Jeff Blackburn was assigned to the position to replace Megan Corrigan, who resigned. Corrigan also resigned her position as middle school assistant track coach.
    Named as girls varsity basketball coach was Andy Heim, who will take over the reins of the program from Tory Fuelling, who had resigned. Named as assistant girls cage coach for next season was Lindy Fuelling, a onetime girls freshman team coach.
    Also approved was the resignation of longtime girls tennis coach Tom Smith.
    Ann Munson was announced as assistant high school volleyball coach. Resigning his position as boys junior varsity basketball coach was John Baker, recently named head varsity coach.
    Other personnel moves approved by the board included accepting the resignations of Linda Fawcett and Kelly Massman, food services; Nichole Myers, middle school family and consumer science; Terry McClelland, middle school yearbook advisor; and Casey McConahay, high school English teacher.
    The board approved the employment of Tia Franks as high school English teacher; Keith Dicke as Project Based Learning coach; and Kim Fullove as director of the Safe Schools Healthy Students program. Fullove takes over for Barry Humble, who recently retired.