Ms. Harris, who has done the district’s mentoring for 10 years, said she has helped first-year teachers “survive” by assisting them “troubleshoot things.” She added that “our goal is to train great people, and keep them here in Gilmer.”
She said she will work with new teachers during their 3-year probationary contracts, teaching them to be mentors during their fourth year.
Mrs. Thomas said she goes in about once every two weeks, observes instructors teach, and “(I) give them one little thing to work on” while also encouraging them. She said second-year teachers’ work will be video recorded for them to watch, and that she will work with third-year instructors on “leadership styles” and “how to be a mentor.”
A new aspect of the mentoring program this year will be professional development days for second-year and third-year teachers, Mrs. Thomas said.
In other business Monday, the board approved purchasing what School Supt. Rick Albritton said was about $150,000 worth of elementary school playground equipment for $83,163 from a Boerne firm. That cost includes installation.
Albritton said the school’s current playground equipment is “dated. I won’t call it unsafe.” He said the campus’s physical education department had requested more outside equipment.
GISD Business Mgr. Beverly Grimes told the board she had found an online spring promotion, “so we kind of lucked out.” The board purchased the equipment from Recreation Brands of Northwest Texas, a factory direct representative of Play and Park Structures in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Since there was a “factory promotion,” the school got a 50 percent discount off the equipment, which helped with installation and other related costs, Mrs. Grimes told The Mirror.
In other business Monday, the board approved an audit engagement letter to have Karen A. Jacks and Associates, a Longview certified public accounting firm, perform the school’s audit for 2014-2015 for $20,200. Mrs. Jacks’s firm has done GISD’s audit for several years.
After a closed session, the board also approved employing 17 new teachers, most of whom have prior teaching experience, according to Albritton.
Newly-hired for Gilmer Elementary School are Ashlie Tiscornia, Erin Marler, Angela Harrison, Carol Brock, Kristy Davis, Leslie Jordan, Austin Hallonquist, Mary Ann Lowrey, and Karen Frederick.
Newly-employed Gilmer High School instructors include Kara Contreras, Jennifer Fields, and Nathan Simmons.
New teachers at Bruce Junior High include Brandon Williams, Kathleen Baker, Sarah Thompson, Cheyanne Gage, and Gregory Harrison.
Other actions at Monday night’s meeting were detailed in Wednesday’s edition of The Mirror.