By Crystal Burns
The Trenton Special School District (TSSD) hosted the Tennessee School Boards Association (TSBA) Fall District Meeting at Peabody High School last week.
The training and networking event drew school board members from across West Tennessee for breakout sessions, dinner and awards. TSBA General Counselor and Director of Government Relations Ben Torress led the “I Wish The General Assembly Would…” session. Randall Bennett, TSBA deputy executive director and general counsel, led “The Role and Responsibilities of the Board & Superintendent” and “The Board’s Role in School Safety.” TSBA Executive Director Dr. Tammy Grissom led “OPEB Liability: What You Need to Know” and “Share the Success Session: New, Innovative Programs in 2017-2018.”
After the sessions, Peabody Student Council members and Peabody Serves students served the meal.
TSSD Board Chairman Dr. Mark Harper was pleased with the students’ efforts, which garnered them an appreciative round of applause. Harper also thanked Shannon Parra, Tammy Smith and the entire TSSD central office staff for organizing the meeting.
“They did an excellent job,” Harper said. “There are a lot of thank you’s to come at our next board meeting. I was proud of our presentation and how well everyone worked together.”
Grissom ended the evening with awards presentations. For the second year a row, a Gibson County Special School District (GCSSD) student received the Northwest District Student of the Year Award. South Gibson County senior Rishika Bhojanapalli created a mini library in her community and is a symphony student ambassador. Bhojanapalli also participates in her school’s band and cross-country, track and gymnastics teams. She is a member of the Beta, HOSA and Spanish clubs. Bhojanapalli will represent the Northwest District at the TSBA state convention in Nashville in November.
School board members achieving Level I, II and III status in their training were also recognized. Carlos Doss and Matt Dosh of Dyersburg, Steven Tate of GCSSD, Tim Tucker of Huntingdon and Will Ownby of Milan received Level I certificates. Benny Boals and Tom Lannom of GCSSD and Melissa Ross of Milan received Level II certificates, and LeAnn Childress and Jeremy Gatlin of Dyer Co. and Kim Longacre of Weakley Co. received Level III certificates. Level IV and V certificates are presented at state convention.
TSBA is comprised of nine districts. Its mission is to assist school boards in effectively governing school districts. TSBA also provides school board members a collective voice in matters of legislation and public education concerns.
“We get a lot of benefits through TSBA,” Harper said.
Harper said TSBA helps local school boards manage their districts while keeping them up to date on legislation and policies that affect public education. He called TSBA one of the best state school board associations in the nation and said the continuing education TSBA provides is always helpful. Harper also highlighted the networking and brainstorming opportunities the Fall District meetings afford similar school districts.
“We all have something in common,” Harper said. “We’re small districts in rural West Tennessee. There’s so much good stuff out there. You pick up a lot of good ideas [at these meetings].”