Elder is lone applicant for school board

    One lone applicant for a soon-to-be-vacant seat on the North Adams school board will be interviewed on April 26 by the four remaining board members.
    With the term of sitting board member Juan Gutierrez to expire on June 30, the board earlier had announced it was accepting applications from persons interested in filling that pending vacancy. The deadline for submissions was last Friday.
    Superintendent Wylie Sirk announced at Tuesday night's school board meeting that only one application was received. Don Elder, a retired teacher and administrator, was the lone applicant. He will be interviewed by the board during a special meeting at 6 p.m. on April 26.
    Although the application deadline has officially passed, board members agreed that any members of the community who reside within the Decatur city limits who are interested in the position can still apply. The board seat is the so-called "swing seat," which alternates every four years between city and rural residents.
    "Nothing against Mr. Elder; I don't know him personally," said board member Deb Bergman, "but I think anyone who is interested can still contact the administration and apply."

    In other personnel moves on Tuesday, Sirk announced that nine North Adams teachers have opted to take advantage of a retirement incentive program offered by the school district which will award a one-time payment of $15,000 to qualifying teachers who announced their retirement plans by April 1. The program was financed through federal stimulus funding.
    Educators who have announced their retirements at the end of the current school year include Judy Baumann, Donna Currie, Tammy Garcia, Steven Keefer, Lou Koning, Ken Low, Donna Miesse, Cynthia Thieme and Nancy Skaggs.
    Also retiring, effective July 29, is Barry Humble, who serves as the director of the Safe Schools Health Students program which serves North Adams, South Adams and Adams Central schools.
    Humble's position is financed by a multi-year federal grant, which Sirk said has two years remaining. "We are looking to fill the director's role in-house," said Sirk. "We are looking at a number of possibilities."
    One of those options reportedly would see Kim Fullove complete the grant term as director of the program. Fullove, an employee of North Adams schools, has assisted the program in various capacities in recent years.
    Other personnel transactions approved by the board included the assignments of Chris Reilly as middle school head boys track coach and Gary Baker as assistant boys baseball coach.
    Wayne Buchan, Kayla Meyer and Kyle Hilyard were approved as volunteers with the high school track program.