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Dayton school board discusses superintendent search

DAYTON – The Dayton School Board met in the High School Library at 6:35 p.m. on October 18, 2023. School Board members present were Chair Jeffrey McCowen, Zac Fabian, and Grant Griffin. Superintendent Rich Stewart and Student Representative Madison Richardson were also present. Aneesha Dieu was not present. The board seat held by Korinda Wallace continues to be vacant.

The Board approved the consent agenda, which included approval of Emily Uptegrove as a volunteer cheer coach, an FFA Dress Attire Donation from Candy Jones, scheduling a surplus sale, hiring Jim Su’euga as MS Boys and Girls Head Basketball Coach, Jesse Yost as a volunteer MS Boys Assistant Basketball Coach, and the resignation of custodian Jerry Dedloff, Jr.

The Elementary School Principal, Amy Cox, mentioned in her report that the school has two salmon tanks this year, one by the front office and the other in a classroom. She hopes that in the Spring, the release of the salmon will be a school-wide event. The Tri-State Steelheaders come in monthly to help maintain the tanks and teach the children about rivers and ecosystems.

Guinevere Joyce, Secondary School Principal, spoke about progressing towards improving the school climate by participating in Gear Up week activities, Homecoming Week, and the use of Bulldog BRAVE tickets as a way to reward good behavior.

Amy Gillick, Dayton School’s music teacher, said the school district is hosting the Mass Band and Choir Festival on October 25, 2023. Seven schools will participate in the performance that begins at 6:30 p.m. The performance is open to the public and will be conducted by the choral and band directors from WSU. There will be a suggested donation, taken at the gymnasium door, of $10 for families, $4 for adults, and students $3. Preschoolers are free.

Stewart and the board members discussed the plan seeking his replacement at some length. During that discussion, Stewart spoke about maintenance projects needed as the district prepares to apply for grants and ask voters for a capital levy. These potential projects are also having their potential costs determined. There will be a levy meeting on October 24, 2023, at 6:30 p.m., at the Port of Columbia boardroom hosted by Jenny Dickinson, the Port Director. This meeting is not a school board meeting and is non-governmental.

Stewart said Ryan Paulson, the City of Dayton’s Public Works Director, has applied for the vacant school board position. Stewart scheduled an interview with the candidate for November’s first regular school board meeting.

Joyce, working on earning her superintendent’s certificate, explained several policies the Board should review.

The Board did not act on agenda item 6.1 to approve a superintendent search, wanting more information on the budget for the search and participation by all board members. Also, the nature of the hire, whether full-time, part-time, etc., is yet to be settled. McCowen suggested making this the primary focus of the next Board meeting.


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