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Local attorney and parent Rhyan Breen was sworn in as the newest member of the Wilson County Board of Education Wednesday night.
Breen won the District 7 seat in the Nov. 6 midterm election and will take the place of Robin Flinn, who had declined to run.
Returning members taking oaths of office were Debora Powell, Beverly Boyette and Christine Fitch.
Board members voted Fitch in again as chairwoman as well as board member Henry Mercer as vice chairman.
Wednesday’s meeting had been postponed from its original date of Dec. 10 when the school system marked a snow day.
The board approved four new high school course offerings including firefighter technology 1, 2 and 3, which will be offered at Beddingfield High School, and fashion merchandising, to be offered at Fike High School.
“This is the time of the year that we get three proposals because we like to have them included in the pre-registration booklets that go out within the schools,” Fitch said.
Fitch said Wilson County Schools has had students who have completed job shadowing and apprenticeships with the fire department.
“We do have an interest in persons becoming firefighters,” Fitch said. “This program will be offered at Beddingfield, but of course, when we create and put a course offering within a bank, the other schools are able to use them as well as their students’ interests grow and students have an expressed interest. So we know that this does have the tendency to carry over to Fike and to Hunt. We also know that we do allow students to take courses between the three campuses when they are offered only at one.”
The course will be offered through a partnerships with Wilson Community College.
Firefighter technology 1 will be offered to grades nine through 12 with no prerequisite.
Firefighter technology 2 would be offered in grades 10-12. That course has a prerequisite of firefighter technology 1.
Firefighter technology 3 would be available in 11th and 12th grades with a prerequisite of firefighter technology 2.
The fourth course is in fashion merchandising for grades nine through 12 and has no prerequisite. It would fall under the career and technical education course offerings and is geared to the fashion industry.
In other business, the board heard information about grants that would create two new positions at Wilson County Schools.
“There are two positions that we are going to be picking up and help in funding salary for another,” explained board member Gary Farmer, of the Human Resources Committee.
“Wilson County Schools has been awarded the School Mental Health Personnel Grant from the North Carolina Center for Safer Schools.
“The grant in the amount of $65,733 will provide funding for one school social worker,” Farmer said. “The Healthcare Foundation of Wilson provided funding for our ropes course. In lieu of the high ropes course, which ran into problems with insurance and other things, the Wilson County Schools Board of Education has elected to use the to funds to hire a grant writer to secure additional funding to align with the Healthcare Foundation’s initiatives and support the teachers and students of Wilson County Schools. So that is two individuals we are picking up with grants.”
Wilson County Schools has also received a $33,000 grant to help fund a portion of the salary for a school resource officer at Toisnot Middle School.
The board voted unanimously to approve 14 policies after a second reading. They included policies on the discrimination, harassment and bullying complaint procedure, student and parent grievance procedure, prohibition against retaliation, public participation at board meetings, testing and assessment program, retirement, site selection, facility design, facility construction, qualification of bidders for construction contracts, pest management, care and maintenance of grounds and outdoor equipment and security of facilities.