“The Tennessee Board of Education created the Board of Distinction program to recognize the highest standards of performance value a board can hold,” Ricks said.
“This award, one of TSBA’s most prestigious, celebrates the achievements of those boards which have met the challenge of leadership in every area of board responsibility.”
The Cleveland School Board joins roughly 40 other boards on the list of distinction.
Board member Dr. Murl Dirksen said he was humbled by the honor.
“We get so much support from the community. There is so much goodwill,” Dirksen said. “It is just a great board to be on.”
He thanked the teachers and staff members for their dedication and support.
Fellow board member Dawn Robinson further highlighted the hard work of the city school system.
“The board can’t be slackers,” Robinson said. “This crowd (teachers, administrators, staff) is [working hard] doing it every day in the schools.”
She explained the board of distinction honor is a component of the school board doing its part.
Board chairman Tom Cloud expressed his appreciation for the positive relationship between the school board and city council.
Peggy Pesterfield, board member, closed out the comments by saying serving on the board is not a thankless task.
“People say thank you all the time for [our] service,” Pesterfield said. “I think while everyone else is saying that, we need to say thank you for [faculty and staff] service.”
She also expressed an appreciation for the public’s support.
The honorary status lasts two years. Fifteen items on the Board of Distinction checklist must be met prior to consideration. The lists are separated into five categories.
- Planning: participated in a retreat of at least seven hours; conducted a superintendent evaluation; developed/updated the five-year plan
- Policy: annual review/maintenance of the policy manual; adopted/adhered to polices for board operations; adopted the TSBA Boardmanship Code of Ethics policy
- Promotion: developed/maintained a school system promotion plan; representatives at the last two TSBA Delegate Assembly meetings; and designated a TLN representative
- Board Development: participated in a self evaluation and developed a plan for improvement; board meeting critiqued a team of Level III or greater board members from at least two other school boards; represented at Fall District Meeting the last two years by a majority of the Board; represented at TSBA Convention the last two years by a majority of the Board; one-third of the board achieved Level II in the TSBA Boardmanship program; and each board member attended at least 75 percent of the board meetings within the previous two years.
Director of City Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff followed the award with a school board appreciation presentation.
He thanked the board members for always being 100 percent present when he contacts them.
“On behalf of the 809 employees we have and the 5,280 students ... that we have, you guys do a fantastic job in supporting our endeavors,” Ringstaff said. “What we do every day is extremely important.”
Certificates were passed out to board members in appreciation for their service: Samantha Douglas, student representative; George Meacham, three years; Richard Shaw, four years; Tom Cloud, eight years; Peggy Pesterfield, eight years; Dr. Murl Dirksen, 10 years; Steve Morgan; and Dawn Robinson, 19 years.
A video created by Cleveland Middle School Ethan Byrum with help from teachers Cody Raper and Stephanie Stone highlighted students favorite aspects of Cleveland Middle.