The Morris Area fall school year will begin with a leadership change and also a bit of contention as displayed at the August school board meeting. Due to a family emergency, Superintendent Troy Ferguson will be taking a leave of absence. The Morris Area School Board named Elementary Principal Shane Monson to fill his position temporarily.
Monson stated that he was excited for the opportunity and that he already has a good understanding of what needs to be done. He added that Morris Area Schools has a great staff to help out and he has people who can answer any questions he might have.
This situation happened very quickly but Monson said it was not the first time he has assumed a different role on short notice. When he became the principal in Morris, he accepted the job only a few days before starting.
“There is no hesitancy on my part,” Monson stated.
In his report to the board he added that the theme for the school year is “We ALL belong at MAES.” He plans to focus on building positive relationships with all students, families, and staff.
With Monson filling the Superintendent’s seat at the August 23 meeting, the board went on to hear a great deal of public comment from concerned parents, students and community members. Prior to the public opinion part of the meeting Board Chairman Anthony Ekren read the policy for consideration of visitor standards including the length of comments and that the items mentioned would not be discussed during the visitor presentations.
The theme of the comments was mask wearing. Many of the members of the public were parents who encouraged the board to require masks during the school year. However, there were almost nearly as many parents who praised the board for not requiring the masks. Some brought statistics while others stated how it affected the mental health of children. One student even expressed their opinion.
One person stated that the board would never be able to please everyone and felt the parents should have the choice. Another felt that the board should follow the Minnesota Department of Health recommendations. In all, the comments were a mixed bag and the school board members took no further action. At last month’s meeting, the board approved a policy to not require masks, however, students could wear masks if they choose to do so and their choice will be supported by all staff.
The school board went on to approve several resignations and some new hires. The new hires included Elizabeth Kriesel as an Elementary Ed Teacher, Nissa Rose as a FACS Teacher and Paula Hamm to teach Early Childhood Ed. New paraeducators hired include Sandy Koerner, Sarah Schultz, Krista Gloppen, Katie Bullock, and Gray Gawboy. Patrick Roseth was hired as a new full-time custodian. Susan Lembcke and Sheila Reuter will work as Dietary Aides.
The board approved a one-year leave of absence from John Kleinwolterink as the Fall Musical Vocal Coach and approved Kali Malaski to fill the position. New coaches approved were Josh Nelson to coach 7th grade football and Chelsey Ehleringer as the C squad volleyball coach.
The board approved the dissolution of the current Hockey pairing agreement and then approved a new agreement that will add Hancock to the pairing. This will allow Hancock students to play Hockey with the Storm.
The board approved several policies that had minor changes before adjourning until the September meeting.