The Board of Education of the Wilkes County Administrative Unit conducted a regular meeting in the Arnold and Becky Lakey Boardroom on Monday, March 6, 2023, at 5:30 PM at 613 Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina 28659.
Present for the meeting were Chairman Mr. Randall "Rudy" Holbrook and Board Members Mr. Kirk Walker, Mrs. Joan Caudill, and Mrs. Jammie Jolly. Absent was Vice-Chairman Mr. Hardin Kennedy III. Also attending were Superintendent Mr. D. Mark Byrd, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Westley Wood, Chief Academic Officer Mrs. Callie Grubb, Chief Finance Officer Mr. Seth Prevette, Chief Technology Officer Mrs. Julie Triplett, Director of Child Nutrition Mr. Marty Johnson, Director of Secondary Education, Athletics, and School Safety Mr. David Johnson, Director of Testing and Accountability, Cultural Arts, 504, and Title I Dr. Dion Stocks, Director of Exceptional Children Mrs. Jennifer Blankenship, Director of Maintenance Mr. Bergie Speaks, AIG Coordinator Mrs. Angie Lamb, Public Information Officer Mrs. Morgan Mathis, and Executive Administrative Assistant Mrs. Carolyn Triplett. Also in attendance were Mr. Dan Biesak, Principal of Moravian Falls Elementary School, Mrs. Jennifer Sorel, Principal of Wilkes Early College High School, and Mrs. Alisha Minton, Assistant Principal of East Wilkes Middle School.
Chairman Mr. Randall "Rudy" Holbrook called the meeting to order.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the agenda was approved as presented.
Chairman Mr. Randall "Rudy" Holbrook recognized Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd for the Superintendent's Welcome and Pledge of Allegiance. Mr. Byrd stated, "The month of March brings a lot of recognitions and a list of people that we need to say 'thank you' to, so that is where I would like to begin. March is 'Music in our Schools' month, and we need to thank our band and chorus teachers for their phenomenal work with students. We had an All-County band concert a few weeks back, and I believe we have All-County chorus next week. If you need a pick-me-up at any time, find a performance by our band or chorus students, and you will leave impressed! Friday, March 3rd was Maintenance Worker Appreciation Day, and we could not do any of the work we do without Mr. Bergie Speaks and his staff. This week is School Social Work Week, and I hope we all have an idea of how vital our school social workers are to the success of our students. This week is also National Foreign Language Week, and we should all appreciate the work of our translators, interpreters, and foreign language teachers. Last but not least, this week is National School Breakfast Week, and we need to thank Marty Johnson and his staff for all they do to help our students as we all know it is hard to work or learn when you are hungry."
"We have adults doing some phenomenal things in our system, and we need to let them know we recognize the difference they make in the lives of our students. The group of people who have really impressed me lately and whom we need to recognize more is our students. Over a two-week period, we had our elementary, middle, and high school quiz bowl teams compete, and I was absolutely blown away by what our students know and can do. I challenged Mrs. Julie Triplett and her staff to make our Quiz Bowl competitions a "Super Bowl" for our students, and they made this happen. But, I think Mrs. Triplett would agree, our students and coaches went above and beyond to make this even more special, and I think the students in the room would tell you it was absolutely awesome."
"At the same time our students were excelling in Quiz Bowl, we had basketball teams and wrestlers having tremendous success, and then I went to Skills USA last week and see our students being recognized as well. The last few weeks have been a reminder to me of what awesome young people we have in Wilkes County Schools and of the great things they will accomplish if we give them the help they need. The future of this county is very bright, and anyone who doesn't believe this needs to spend some time around the students who walk our halls every day! Their accomplishments make me excited about the job that I get to do on a daily basis, and I hope you feel the same way that I do!"
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd called on Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to recognize the Wilkes County Schools Spelling Bee Winners. Wilkes County Schools held its annual spelling bee on January 31, 2023, in the Stone Center for Performing Arts. There were seventeen contestants, one from each elementary and middle school. The winner received a trophy provided by Horace Mann and a $100 prize donated by Teena Compeau. The runner-up received a $50 prize. In addition, Horace Mann provided each contestant with a Chick-Fil-A gift card.
Congratulations to our runner-up, Alyssa Wondolowski, from East Wilkes Middle School.
Congratulations to our winner, Will Hefner, from Central Wilkes Middle School. He will represent Wilkes County Schools at the state competition. Will is a two-time spelling bee winner.
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd called on Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to recognize the Foothills 2A and Northwest 1A Athletic Conference Recognitions. The Foothills 2A and Northwest 1A All-Conference teams were recently announced following the winter sports season. We are proud to recognize coaches and players from Wilkes County Schools that were chosen as Players of the Year and Coaches of the Year.
Congratulations to Ralee Bare from North Wilkes High School. Ralee was recognized
as the Foothills 2A Women's Basketball Player of the Year.
Congratulations to Coach Jason Bowlin from North Wilkes High School. Coach Bowlin
was recognized as the Foothills 2A Wrestling Coach of the Year.
Congratulations to Coach Colby Shell from Wilkes Central High School. Coach Shell
was recognized as the Foothills 2A Indoor Track Coach of the Year.
Congratulations to Coach Matt Campbell from East Wilkes High School. Coach Campbell was recognized as the Northwest 1A Women's Basketball Coach of the Year.
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to recognize the Elementary and High School Quiz Bowl Winners. The Elementary and High School Quiz Bowl Tournaments were held on February 14, 2023, and February 22, 2023. Wilkes County Schools transitioned to Quiz Bowl this year for our academic competitions. This change was made to include not only students who have a love for reading, but also students who excel in mathematics, science, social studies, the arts, and general academic knowledge. Our Quiz Bowl tournaments increased the rigor of our academic competitions and showcased the intellect of our students across all subject areas. Our students competed well, impressing our Central Services staff who helped with the competition, and our guests for the tournament. We are so proud of our students and appreciate our coaches!
Congratulations to our elementary school winner, C.C. Wright Elementary School! Participants included:
Coach: Jaimie Cooper
Congratulations to our high school winner, Wilkes Early College High School! Participants included:
Coaches: Jennifer Sorel and Leah Watkins
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to announce the North Carolina Senior Beta Club Convention Winners. The North Carolina Senior Beta Club Convention took place on January 27, 2023, and January 28, 2023. Beta holds annual state conventions in eighteen states, both for Senior and Junior Beta divisions, and winners of these state events go on to compete at the national level.
Activities range from academic contests to quiz bowls to talent competitions. Conventions give members the opportunity to interact, share project ideas, and showcase academic and leadership abilities. Wilkes Early College High School had four students place in the top of their competitions at the North Carolina Senior Beta Club Convention.
Congratulations to Maggie Spears for winning first place in Division II Ceramics.
Congratulations to Faith Epley, Stormy Epley, and Madelyn Hoover for winning first place in Battle of the Books.
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to announce the Regional Science Fair Winners. Wilkes County Schools hosted the 2022-2023 Regional Science Fair on February 11, 2023. Over 100 outstanding projects were entered from grades 3-8 in our region. Wilkes County Schools had five elementary and seven middle school students whose projects will advance to the state science fair at North Carolina State University on March 24, 2023, and March 25, 2023. Congratulations to these students!
Kolten Parsons, Millers Creek Elementary
Hank Reece, Moravian Falls Elementary
Chayton Dillard, Millers Creek Elementary
Beckett Willis, CB Eller Elementary
Grant Roberts, Millers Creek Elementary
Shalyn Bare, North Wilkes Middle
Olivia Dancy, North Wilkes Middle
Hunter Absher, East Wilkes Middle
Logan Osborne, East Wilkes Middle
Carson Pierce, East Wilkes Middle
Ryland Faw, West Wilkes Middle
Jake Lambert, East Wilkes Middle
Colton Vestal, East Wilkes Middle
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to recognize the NCSPRA Blue Ribbon Awards. The North Carolina School Public Relations Association (NCSPRA) awarded its highest honors during the annual Blue Ribbon Awards ceremony on February 10, 2023, in High Point. NCSPRA presented Blue Ribbon Awards to thirty-eight school districts for their outstanding communication and public relations during 2022.
Wilkes County Schools Public Information Officer, Morgan Mathis, earned five Blue Ribbon Awards for outstanding and effective marketing, public relations, and communications. Mathis received awards in the areas of Photography, Image & Graphic Design, and Special Events & Programs. The Georgia School Public Relations Association judged the 2022 Blue Ribbon entries. They praised the work as "a model of excellent communication" and "an exceptional showcase of the incredible work that students and districts are doing."
Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd recognized Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent, to announce the Carolina West Wireless Communication 4 Education Program. Communication 4 Education is a fundraising program created by Carolina West Wireless to help local school systems in the communities they serve. Customers can help by simply choosing the school they'd like to receive a contribution, and Carolina West Wireless will donate 3% of their local monthly service fee to that school at no cost to the customer! Representatives from Carolina West Wireless presented Wilkes County Schools with a check for $18,405.80 to be divided among the schools that participated in Communication 4 Education.
Focus on the Curriculum was presented by Mrs. Callie Grubb, Chief Academic Officer. Mrs. Grubb gave a brief description of the Literacy Programs in Wilkes County Schools. Strengthening student literacy is a top priority at the state and district levels. Literacy is a focus in state legislation as well as in Operation Polaris, the Department of Public Instruction's strategic plan. Literacy is also a focal point in the Wilkes County Schools' strategic plan.
Mrs. Callie Grubb highlighted Wilkes County Schools' literacy support services provided to students and staff. Topics included screeners, curriculum, programs, and LETRS. Wilkes County Schools will increase reading composite proficiency scores on End of Grade (EOG) and End of Course (EOC) to 68.1% by June 2025. Our strategies include building capacity of school staff in planning and pedagogy of the reading curriculum. Wilkes County Schools will strengthen core instruction in reading and will use MTSS Interventions to increase reading proficiency. LETRS training has been a huge success. Wilkes County Schools was first in the state to begin LETRS training, and we will be finished on June 8, 2023. We have 240 teachers participating, and we are very proud of our teachers! Currently, 13 Administrators (K-5) almost have year one completed. The Literacy Intervention Plan is sent into the state (annually) and has already been approved. Wilkes County Schools continues to provide district, low-performing school support, and resources.
Chairman Mr. Rudy Holbrook asked if anyone had signed up for Public Comments. Mr. Justin Church spoke to the Board regarding Home School Athletic Participation.
On a motion by Mrs. Caudill, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the minutes for February 6, 2023, and February 13, 2023, was approved as presented.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the Personnel Report was approved as presented.
On a motion by Mrs. Jolly, seconded by Mrs. Caudill and duly carried, the following Out-of-County/Overnight Field Trips were approved as presented. Planned dates are listed below.
|East Wilkes High School
|North Wilkes High School
|Teacher Cadent/FTA Students
|Wilkes Early College High School
Outdoor Adventure Club
On a motion by Mrs. Caudill, seconded by Mr. Walker and duly carried, the Chromebook Vendor was approved as presented. Wilkes County Schools released a competitive bid request for student Chromebooks in February. These will replace outdated Chromebooks in our elementary and high schools.
We received 5 sealed bids for Chromebooks prior to the bid opening. The bids are listed in the table below.
|Bid per Chromebook
|Applied Data Technologies
|CDW Government, LLC
|HPI International, Inc.
Applied Data Technologies submitted the lowest bid.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the Budget Amendment was approved as presented and is listed below:
State Public School Fund – Increase of $273,494.00
On a motion by Mrs. Caudill, seconded by Mrs. Jolly and duly carried, the Contract for Audit Services for Fiscal Year 2023 was approved as presented. Strickland Hardee PLLC has submitted their audit contract proposal for the fiscal 2023 year. Mr. Travis Hardee, with Strickland Hardee, has been the managing auditor for our engagement since fiscal 2016. The fiscal 2022 final audit cost was $39,500 for 4 major programs. Spending thresholds dictate the amount of auditing that has to be done. Strickland Hardee has submitted audit costs for different numbers of major programs. This is being done in the spirit of not having to bring amendments mid-year. Each additional major program would cost $3,000 if needed.
2 major programs $36,000
3 major programs $39,000
4 major programs $42,000
Discussion and Report Item was presented by Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent. Submitted for consideration was policy 7310, Student-Staff Relations. The purpose of the revisions is to outline prohibited conduct, restrictions on electronic communications, and reporting requirements to ensure professional relationships between students and staff. This policy will be submitted in April for final approval.
Discussion and Report Item was presented by Dr. Westley Wood, Assistant Superintendent. Submitted for consideration was policy 7335, Employee Use of Social Media. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that electronic communication is used responsibly and safely by employees. The proposed policy outlines expectations of social media communications involving students, employee personal use of social media, and posting on social media sites. This policy will be submitted in April for final approval.
Chairman Mr. Holbrook made the following announcements:
- March 22, 2023 – Third Grading Period Ends
- March 23, 2023 – Required Workday
- March 24, 2023 – Optional Workday
- March 27, 2023 – Fourth Grading Period Begins
Chairman Mr. Holbrook announced the next board meeting to be April 3, 2023. The meeting will be held in the Arnold and Becky Lakey Boardroom, located at 613 Cherry Street, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina beginning at 5:30 PM.
On a motion by Mr. Walker, seconded by Mrs. Caudill, the Wilkes County Board voted unanimously to meet in closed session at 6:18 PM to consider the qualification, competence, performance, character, fitness, conditions of appointment, or conditions of initial employment of an individual public officer or employee, or prospective public officer or employee, pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(6).
The board discussed extending the contract of Superintendent Mr. Mark Byrd through June
30, 2026. This was later voted on in Open Session.
No further business was presented, and upon motion by Mrs. Caudill, seconded by Mr. Walker and duly carried, the Board of Education voted unanimously to end closed session and return to open session at 6:44 PM.
In open session, upon a motion by Mrs. Caudill and seconded by Mr. Walker, the Board of
Education voted unanimously to extend the contract of Mr. D. Mark Byrd through June 30, 2026.
On a motion by Mr. Walker and seconded by Mrs. Caudill, with no further business, the Board of Education voted unanimously to adjourn at 6:46 PM.