Brookville Area School Board Will Consider New Candidates for Superintendent

BROOKVILLE, Pa. (EYT) – The Brookville Area School District Board voted 5-4 Monday to consider other candidates for the Superintendent of Schools position at the end of the current superintendent, Robin Fillman’s contract term. Fillman’s contract is up this summer.

Board President, Don Gill, made the announcement as an addendum to the meeting. In his statement he said that the notification “will not prevent the superintendent from being considered for or appointed to another term of office, notwithstanding the consideration of other candidates.” The motion, made by board member, Frank Bartley, and seconded by board member, Fred Park, was voted in a roll call with board members Bartley, Park, Roberta Ganoe, Rick Ortz and Carol Schindler in favor and Melinda Hall, Kerith Strano Taylor, John Pozza and Don Gill opposed.

The board also voted on how to proceed with regards to the Feasibility Study presented by the architectural and engineering firm, HHSDR. The study focused on an expansion project for Hickory Grove Elementary School which would cost an estimated 15 million. The board approved a motion to accept the Feasibility Study, however, no further action will be taken on the Hickory Grove expansion project at this time due to funding constraints.

Board member, Strano Taylor emphasized the implications of this action.

“The language of the motion, I want to make sure it’s read out to the public,” she said. “No further action is approved at this time for renovation. We are obligated to receive the study since we paid for it. We received it, but are not moving forward with that.”

A significant factor in the board’s decision was the fact that there would be no PlanCon funding at this time.

Before voting on the motion, Park addressed the board with his concerns about some of the issues with the Pinecreek and Northside buildings that would need to be addressed. Several board members indicated an agreement that those issues would have to be resolved regardless of the outcome of the motion. Gill added that those issues would “most definitely have to be looked at.”

As part of the district’s ongoing efforts at improving school safety, Fillman announced that the district was awarded a PA Safe Schools Targeted School Police Officer Grant in the amount of $38,375 to fund a full time police officer at Hickory Grove as well as a part time officer who will move between the Pinecreek and Northside schools. There is currently a full time police officer for the Junior-Senior High School, a position that is paid for by Title IV grant monies.

Strano Taylor expressed her gratitude to the rest of the board for moving forward with hiring school police officers despite the uncertainty that the district would receive grant money to fund the positions.

“I want to commend the board for taking the step to hire the officers,” she said. “We were hoping for this money, but we all committed to spending it even if it didn’t.”

A group of teachers who represent the district’s Thoughtful Classroom Support Team (TCST) presented a video presentation showcasing the teaching strategies, professional development, and pedagogical growth that they have been working towards since the board approved the program roughly three years ago. Teacher training for the program was funded by a Keystones to Opportunity federal grant.

The presentation showed pictures of classrooms with strategic displays and students working collaboratively. The group seeks to support their colleagues in creating a respectful learning environment, promote a passion for learning, encourage diverse modes of thinking, challenge students with higher order thinking and use motivational levers.

German teacher, Eric Sweitzer, explained one feature of the TCST called the Learning Walk. Members of the team will walk through the school buildings looking for evidence that supports the four cornerstones of the program in order to evaluate and recognize good teachers in action.

“We look at things in hallway, going on in classroom to support that,” Sweitzer said.

He said that the team will email the faculty to let them know what they saw in order to model effective teaching practices. He added that the information gathered can also be used to target where to make improvements, saying “On a professional development day, we can see what to incorporate in the day based on the Learning Walk.”

Fillman initiated a standing ovation for the TCST, thanking them for being teacher leaders and “sustaining ongoing professional development for our new teachers and our existing teachers.”

The board also recognized the achievements of the Students of the Month and Teachers of the Month for October. Math teacher, James Overly, presented Jonathan Becker, Autumn Mitchell, Hannah Price, Sierra Dolby, Ellie Wingard and Brittany Deemer with a Students of the Month Award. The Extra Effort Award went to Steven Anthony, Haley Borczyk, Trinity Rittenhouse, Dustin Barnett, Josh Dashner, and Eryck Finnegan. The Teachers of the Month were Kristen Drake and Jenny Lewis.

During public comment, Herb McConnell expressed his thoughts on the importance of having good teachers in the classroom.

“Education is an art in the classroom and that’s where that takes place,” he said. “I’m glad to see we are doing some things to help people make that art better.”

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