Polk honors 'Teachers of the Year'

Posted 3/13/18

The Polk County Board of Education recognized five Teachers of the Year for 2017-18 at Monday evening's March meeting at Copper Basin High School.One school, Benton Elementary, decided to focus on a …

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Polk honors 'Teachers of the Year'


The Polk County Board of Education recognized five Teachers of the Year for 2017-18 at Monday evening's March meeting at Copper Basin High School.

One school, Benton Elementary, decided to focus on a team approach, and did not select a Teacher of the Year. Director of Schools Dr. James Jones said each school in the system had that option.

Prinicipals from the other five schools, with the exception of Polk County High School, announced their honorees.

Dr. Jason Bell stepped up for Polk County High Principal Ron German in announcing Melissa Fugate as this year's teaching award winner.

Copper Basin Principal Tim Kidd presented his school's Teacher of the Year award to history teacher Amy Underwood.

Other Teachers of the Year included Chilhowee Middle School's Danielle McClary (announced by Principal Connie Dunn), South Polk Elementary School's Keri Beth Davis (introduced by Principal Frances Bramlett), and Copper Basin Elementary's Rhonda Hyatt (recognized by Principal Jill Franklin).

There were a number of other topics of discussion Monday evening, including a very preliminary step in plans for a new school in Benton.

The new facility will be an elementary school to replace Benton Elementary, or an elementary/middle school combination to replace Benton Elementary and Chilhowee Middle.

The Polk County Commission has purchased the Cheek farm to the east of Highway 411, and adjacent to Polk County High School, as a site for the new school.

The commission is giving the school system around 60 acres for the school, but retaining a brick home and some 15 acres of land.

Options on the brick home, and property, are to sell it at auction or sealed bids;  or consider the use of dirt from the 15 acres around the home, situated on an extreme bluff, for the new school construction site.

The commission discussed the situation last week, then handed it off to the school board.

Jones has said he has been criticized for giving the home and 15 acres back to Polk County. "We didn't give them anything," he emphasized. "They purchased the property and gave us around 60 acres. The home and property was never ours."

Befor Monday's board meeting, there was a discussion with a Vance Travis and Dennis Dockery of Michael Brady Architects of Knoxville and Chattanooga.

The talk was related to options for the new school, and the house and property. 

School board members later voted to have the architectural firm survey the property, and provide suggestions. This was what a majority of the commission wanted last week.

Jones said he will receive the results of the survey, discuss it with the board, and forward that information to Polk County's commissioners.

No timeline for construction of the new school has yet been determined.

Other school business:

• The board gave approval of an overnight trip by the Polk County High School's HOSA students to attend the State Convention in Chattanooga during the Spring Break.

• Also approved was an overnight trip for Polk County High's SkillsUSA students to their State Convention in Chattanooga.

• Polk High School students will also attend the TSA state competition in Chattanooga, another overnight trip; and Future Farmers of America students will attend a University of Tennessee event.

• Board members approved the purchase of Chromebooks and charging carts.

• Another purchase was approved after a recommendation by Jones. He said the school system's lawnmowers, in Benton at Copper Basin, are 15 years old, and recommended buying two new lawnmowers.

The board approved the request, with the cost expected to be $22,000 to $25,000.


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