Dr. Bobbie Short
By Caroline Monday
The Watauga County Board of Education honored retiring superintendent Bobbie Short at its monthly meeting, held Monday, June 9. The meeting was Short’s last official board meeting, ending her five-year tenure with the school system.
Short also recently received recognition from the Northwest Regional Educational Services Alliance, which named her Regional Superintendent of the year. The honor came after a unanimous vote from the NWRESA’s Superintendent’s Council.
NWRESA serves 13 public school districts in the northwestern region of the state. She is one of eight superintendents throughout the state to be selected for this honor and is eligible to be named statewide superintendent of the year in November.
Dr. Bobbie Short
In addition to her regional success, the board focused on the the success Short has had within the school system. Board member Deborah Miller commended Short for being forward thinking and for encouraging community involvement.
Steve Combs recalled when the board interviewed Short for the position of superintendent. She was asked how she would follow in previous superintendent Dick Jones’ footsteps. Short replied, “I’m going to make footsteps of my own.”
“I can remember my thoughts,” Combs said. He thought, “This lady’s got her act together.”
Board chairman Lowell Younce said he remembers seeing an interview with Short on Mountain Television Network when she was first hired in which she said, “I want to be the support for all the children of Watauga County.”
“Dr. Short,” Younce said, “you have been the support for all the children of Watauga County.”
Short listed some of the accomplishments of the board and the school system during her tenure, including improved communications systems, the construction of a new Watauga High School, improvements in curriculum and instruction and the creation of an assessment center at the high school.
“I guess the thing that I’m most proud of is the personnel,” she said. “Having the right people in the right jobs is critical to success.”
Mike Kesterson of Barnhill/Vannoy, the construction company for the new WHS facility, gave the board a report on the progress of the building. He said the project was on target and all of the foundations and the steel erections for each of the three wings should be completed by the end of July.
The board also voted to approve the Title I Plan for the 2008-09 school year. Each year, school systems submit these plans to the state department of instruction in order to receive state funding. The board saw the plan at its May meeting, but did not vote to approve it because of concerns by Ron Henries that Hardin Park School would not receive enough funding.
The funding is based on the proportion of low-income students attending a school. Proportionally, Hardin Park has the lowest amount in the county and thus receives less funding per child for Title I.
At the June meeting, the board voted to approve the plan without any changes from the original. Henries voted to approve the plan but urged the board to make sure all students are getting the services they need.
“When I look at this problem, I don’t believe there’s one thing that Watauga County Schools does on any day that’s more important than teaching our students to read,” he said.
In other actions, the board voted to increase the fees for the After School Program. Marshall Ashcraft, who heads up the self-supporting program, said these increases were necessary to keep up with cost increases.
The rate increases will be 70 cents, or $1.50 per week, for most families. In addition, there will no longer be discounts for families with multiple children in the program.