New employees welcomed by Mount Airy Board of Education

David Broyles Staff Reporter

August 26, 2013

The Mount Airy Board of Education regular business meeting Wednesday evening at B.H. Tharrington Primary School focused on welcoming new teachers. The event also had a bit of a homecoming atmosphere when Chairwoman Wendy Carriker pointed out many of the new employees are alumni.

“I thank you ahead of time for all the hard work and effort you will put forth,” said Superintendent Dr. Gregory Little. “There are a lot of things happening in the Mount Airy City Schools and we will be getting fired up and rolling soon.”

Little was referring to the opening of city schools set for Monday. He told the board of plans in upcoming meetings to meet with principals and discuss progress on school improvement plans in terms of what has been accomplished and what will come next.

New teachers for Tharrington announced were Kelly Johnson as Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) coach, Nicole Jordon as kindergarten teacher, Candice Norman as a teaching assistant and Lorie Lindsley as kindergarten assistant. Data Manager Becky Parries and fifth-grade teacher Lauren Parker will be new additions to Jones Intermediate. New employees for Mount Airy Middle School are Samantha Surratt as math teacher, Katherine Walker as guidance counselor, Jonathan Jones as band teacher, Sara Inman as music teacher and Sara George as a half-time Academically and Intellectually Gifted (AIG) program teacher.

New employees for Mount Airy High School introduced were math teachers Sara Hill and Courtney Howlett, English teacher Jessica Yates, Spanish teacher Shannie Jessup, teaching assistant Ross Guiles, Jon Cawley as teaching assistant for the North Carolina School for Science and Mathematics program and social studies teacher Tyler Bentley.

Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Kim Morrison briefed the board about work integrating Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics across the curriculum in schools. She told the board she and staffers had identified many science resources which used to support design challenge activities and for class enrichment in Mount Airy Middle School.

Morrison said at least 16 clubs on the middle school level would offer a wider range of activities for students and Mount Airy High is exploring the possibility of a partnership with Surry Community College’s gaming design program to benefit students. She told the board a major emphasis for her at the start of the school year is making sure teachers have resources for STEAM in their classes.

The board also adopted a series of minor changes in four policies to bring them in line with the Federal Excellence In Education Act. According to Little, an update in the language of the system’s parental involvement policy will bring it in line with the Federal Read to Achieve Act . Minor updates in the Student/Parent Grievance Procedure policy also were made.

The board adopted reading proficiency standards mandated by the Excellence In Education Act. Morrison explained that reading proficiency now is measured in third grade and those not passing are retained. She said the system intends on broadening support of reading starting with starting benchmarks being set in kindergarten. Morrison said electronic portfolios documenting help to those testing below grade level and how parents can help would be a part of this effort.

The final policy changes adopted concerned the system’s excused absence policies to align them with the Federal Family Leave Act. The next business session of the board has been set for Sept. 17.

Reach David Broyles at or 719-1952.