WINNSBORO — After receiving Superintendent J.R. Green’s recommendation Tuesday night, the Fairfield County School Board unanimously approved the resignations of two Fairfield Middle School teachers — science teacher Shana Harris and math teacher David Toney.
“(Toney’s resignation) is an unfortunate situation,” Green said, “but I am quite sure Mr. Toney weighed the pros and cons of ways to bring this situation to closure. While I remain disappointed by the series of events (that led to this point) I wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”
In the past Green referred to Toney as a dynamic math teacher who played a large role in the improved end of course examination scores for eighth-grade Algebra I students at FMS. Toney was defensive coordinator for the past two upper state championship teams at Fairfield Central High School.
Toney’s resignation comes after his December 2013 arrest for possession of marijuana. Toney was stopped for speeding while on his way to coach Fairfield Central’s football team in the state championship game.
Tuesday’s meeting was the first board meeting held after Toney appeared in court Jan. 9 to request a jury trial, a milestone Green wanted to wait upon before making a recommendation to the board. As of now, a trial date has not been set.
In other contractual news, Green was given a one-year contract extension. At a January work session the board did a performance evaluation for the superintendent and following executive session prior to Tuesday night’s meeting voted to extend the contract to four years.
Board members Andrea Harrison and Annie McDaniel abstained while the other board members voted in favor of the extension.
Other action items included the board passing first reading on a policy revision for an administrative rule update for chaperones, Board Policy & Administrative Rule IJOA and IJOA-R, Field Trips.
The board unanimously approved first reading of revisions to the field trip policy including an increased student/chaperone ratio from 15 students to 20 for students in grades nine through 12. Field trips in the Carolinas and Georgia would be subject to superintendent approval, not board approval, should the final version of the revisions go into effect.
Noting that the current policy is modeled after the school board association policy, McDaniel requested the district attorney research if there are legal reasons why an out-of-state trip should require board approval.
Harrison moved that if there was no legal rationale not to make the change that the policy needed to include that trips must be same day returning trips to qualify. Overnight trips still would require board approval.
First reading passed unanimously for revisions to Board Policy GCOA and GCOA-R, Evaluation of Instructional Staff. Under the revisions the cycle for certified evaluations would change from every three years to being periodic.
The change responds to the limited number of teachers available to administer evaluations and the timeline and guidelines to enter evaluation information into the state system.
The principal retains authority to place an individual on formal evaluation at any time. Other teachers would be on a goals based evaluation, a system which in Green’s opinion creates a more effective evaluation system.
In other business:
• Several students were honored for recent achievements at the State Junior Beta Club Convention.
• The month of January marks the annual observance of School Board Recognition Month — a time to salute the work of more than 630 school board members serving South Carolina public schools. The theme — School Boards: Locally Owned and Operated Since Forever – reinforces the roles and responsibilities of school boards and the ownership they take for governing their local public schools.
Schools recognized board members as part of school board recognition month with tokens of appreciation being presented to Andrea Harrison by Geiger Elementary; Annie McDaniel by Kelly Miller Elementary; Henry Miller by McCrorey-Liston School of Technology; Bobby Cunningham by Fairfield Middle School; William Frick by Fairfield Magnet School for Math & Science; and Paula Hartman by Fairfield Elementary School. Chair Beth Reid was collectively recognized by Fairfield Central High School, Gordon Odyssey & Fairfield Career & Technology Center.
• Corp. Francine Goings and Chief Freddie Lorick with the Winnsboro Department of Public Safety honored the Fairfield Middle School Chorus for its help with the first ever Senior Christmas Luncheon with the We Care Program community outreach program. Lorick said the youth were so talented that the performance moved him to tears.
• Patriots Pen essay winners were recognized including Lateesha Johnson, first place; Gerald Mils, second place; Jonathon Edenfield, third place; and Dillon Pullen, fourth place. Photos of the winners will be included in Tuesday’s edition of The Herald Independent.