By L. Parsons
The Winslow Unified School District governing board met last week to discuss the future of their relationship with newly appointed Superintendent Cyndie Mattox. Mattox was hired in April of 2017, and given a provisional contract to be determined at the end of the year. Following a closed executive session of the board, it was determined that Mattox would be offered a contract with the terms of which to be negotiated in January.
Mattox said negotiations, “Could include contract length, salary, and more.” The motion to approve the contract was passed with a four to one vote, member Dodie Montoya casting the sole vote against the motion.
Also discussed during the meeting was the recent self-evaluation of the governing board. The evaluation asked board members to outline their achievements thus far, and to elaborate on weaknesses and areas that need improvement. Some concerns voiced by the board were decreased enrollment, funding and effective communication.
Board member Sharon Greenwood said, “When I went through this, I realized that we didn’t have any specific goals for the board and I thought that should be something that we should do to have some direction as far as where we wanted to go.”
Mentioned often throughout the reading of the evaluation, was the “top heaviness” of the school district. This was reiterated with anonymous statements read aloud by board President Marilee Ervien such as, “I continue to feel significant division from administration and school staff with little willingness to compromise, division in district staff and administration continues to hurt common goals of providing the best possible education for children. We should come together to make a stronger district.”
Board member Al Leonard added, “When I read this over, I got that feeling that communication is in all of these, that’s my biggest struggle in communicating with you guys. It is hard to communicate and get the communities voice heard. We have hard working, caring people, we just need to figure out how to work better as a team.”
Member Joe Hartnett addressed the faculty in attendance and said, “We depend on you to come to us with your concerns and what direction you want to go, and what the problems are in the district so we can address those.”
Moving forward, the board intends to schedule more work sessions, “So that we can get some goals and get a direction for the next year, and deal with the budget cuts in a way that is best for the students,” Greenwood concluded. The evaluation is available for review by visiting the district office at 800 N. Apache.
In other business, the governing board:
* Approved a motion to ratify vouchers, allowing the district to submit vouchers to the Navajo County Superintendent of Schools between board meetings, a routine procedure.
* Approved the hiring of Jareen Barton as an emergency substitute teacher, Brianna Conaster as the seventh grade girls basketball coach and Juana Brown as a volunteer for the girls basketball program at Winslow Junior High School.
* Approved the resignation of Cheri Russell as a special education aid at Winslow High School.
* Approved donations in the amounts of $144, and $109.68 to Bonnie Brennan Elementary School from Southwest Karma for Sonic Night; $64.89 and $90.80 to Jefferson Elementary School from Southwest Karma for Sonic Night; $83.77 and $67.83 to Washington Elementary School from Southwest Karma for Sonic Night; and $50 to Washington Elementary School from Winslow School Employees Credit Union from the Walk-A-Thon.
* Approved out of state travel for Denise Estudillo and four other staff members to attend the National Johnson O’Malley Association Conference in Tulsa, Okla., April 8-12 to be funded by district Johnson O’Malley grants.
* Adopted for first reading four books for use in the English Language Arts program at Winslow Junior High School including, Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen, Firegirl by Tony Abbott, Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly, and The Raven and Other Poems by Edgar Allan Poe.
Winslow Unified School District governing board meetings are held the third Thursday of each month, and the public is invited to attend. The next regularly scheduled meeting is 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 18, in the district office building located at 800 N. Apache Ave.