LOCKPORT – In contrast to past board meetings this year, spirits were high among Fairmont School District 89 Board members as they welcomed new administrators and a new board member.
Louis Spoonhour was the newest member to be appointed to the board at Wednesday’s meeting. He will replace Joseph Ryan, former board vice president, who resigned in June over disagreements with the board and the resignation of former Superintendent Sonya Whitaker.
“I have a lifelong experience in education,” Spoonhour said on why he joined the board.
Spoonhour said he was a teacher and high school principal in Ohio. He’s been a Lockport resident for 22 months.
Board President Katie Ulmer said Spoonhour will be an asset to the board as it tries to encourage better education for students.
Interim Superintendent Lela Bridges – who was appointed June 30 – said in her first report to the board that she’s been honored to serve in the position and is excited about being part of the community.
She said on Aug. 10 there will be a back-to-school rally for the school and community. For teacher institute day Aug. 11, she said board members and staff will meet.
Topics of discussion for that day will include district data, changes to the district’s culture and climate and what can be done to make the community more a part of District 89, she said.
“We want this to be a community school,” she said.
Interim Business Manager Teri Shaw, also appointed June 30, said she’s spoken with staff, as well as reviewed the school building and budget, which looks solid.
She said going forward the board will receive a log of Freedom of Information Act requests, which also will be posted to the website.
Board member Joseph Dalpiaz said in one month, he’s learned more about District 89 than in the past 3½years.
“I appreciate the willingness of the administration to share relevant information that’s needed for – I think – board members to make rational decisions on behalf of our school and our students,” he said.
“Amen to that,” board member Richard Myers said.
Ulmer welcomed Shaw and Bridges, saying district officials have been busy trying to get things to move forward.
“I have confidence that by the end of next school year, we will show some improvement – which I have been asking for a long time – in our student achievement,” she said.