Departures, new hires mark school district meeting

Mark Burrows

JOHN DAY --The school board said goodbye to a friend and valued employee at its May 12 meeting. The board also appointed two school administrators, presented some awards and accepted one of its own.

Mark Burrows, principal at Humbolt School for the last seven years, read his letter of resignation and announced to the board he would be stepping down as of June 30. Burrows said he has learned a great deal while at Humbolt, but a desire to do more drew him to the job as superintendent of the Morrow County School District.

"I want to publicly acknowledge to the board and to the people of Grant County that I have received a surplus in return of warm personal and professional association as well as the affection of several hundred children," he said.

Burrows heads to Lexington to act as superintendent of eight schools with close to 2,300 students in Morrow County.

Superintendent Newell Cleaver announced the program known as Math Wizards had been recognized by Oregon Small Schools Association (OSSA) for an outstanding program.

"This is one of the many accomplishments Humbolt School has achieved in the last several years," Cleaver said. "It is only fitting that Mark be here to accept this award for the school."

Cleaver said "the Grant School District will forever be indebted," and "the winners have been the students of Grant County."

OSSA usually only gives one award per school district, but this year two nominations were deemed worthy of an award. Along with Burrows, Carol Kilpatrick accepted an Award of Excellence for her work with the Fred Boyce unit of study.

Fred Boyce was featured in the March 31 issue of the Blue Mountain Eagle. A survivor of 11 years of physical and mental torture at a state school in Massachusetts. Boyce has been taking part in Kilpatrick's citizenship class for the past seven years by talking to students about his experiences via speaker phone.

A crew from "60 Minutes" shot footage at Grant Union High School for a story about Boyce, and after the the segment aired on May 2, Kilpatrick said the story had not gone unnoticed by Hollywood.

"Although we did not make the '60 Minutes' cut ... Steven Spielberg read the book on Monday, and bought the rights to Freddy's story the next day."

Mark Lesniak presented a certificate of appreciation to the board for help the school district has given to the Head Start program.

"We wanted to thank you for your support, and we hope this partnership will continue for a long time," he said.

Lesniak said Head Start uses space in the junior high, and hot meals are provided by the district. The district also pays for school bus maintenance and gives Head Start a place to park.

After an executive session, the school board announced Kris Beal would be the new principal at Humbolt School, and Monty Nash would be hired as vice principal at GUHS. Joann Humphrey was named as special education assistant at Mt. Vernon Middle School, and Michelle Forsman was named cheerleader adviser at GUHS.

McDaniel Oil, also know as Triangle Oil, was awarded the fuel contract for the upcoming year, and the board decided to wait until the Aug. 11 meeting to award the milk contract. The board hopes fluctuating milk prices, due to the rising cost of gasoline, would stabilize by that time.

A budget meeting was scheduled for May 26, and the next board meeting will be 7 p.m. June 9, at the district office, 401 N. Canyon City Blvd.

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