BY DAVID FISHER
During the Jan. 5, 2023 school board meeting, at the Weakley County Personal Development Center, Director of Weakley County Schools, Randy Frazier, announced he will retire at the end of the 2022-2023 schoolyear.
Director of Schools Randy Frazier Announces Retirement
“Tonight, I am announcing that I’m retiring at the end of this schoolyear,” Frazier said. “I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a pleasure. I’m in the minority. The average span of a superintendent is three years.
“I think it’s a credit to our system that, in the past 33 years, you’ve had two superintendents.”
Frazier has enjoyed a long and successful career. He was the head girls’ basketball coach for over 20 years at Gleason High School and Junior High School, and Principal at Gleason for 14 years. Under his leadership, the Gleason Lady Bulldogs won over 600 victories, had nine state tournament appearances, won three TSSAA state championships (1992, 1999, 2007), and had one state runner-up finish.
The gymnasium floor at Gleason High School was named in Frazier’s honor. He currently serves on the TSSAA Legislative Council as an Ex Officio member representing TOSS.
Frazier said that he will assist in a smooth transition to the next person appointed as director of schools.
Board members joined with the audience in giving Frazier a resounding applause to congratulate him on his upcoming retirement.
Vantrease indicated that the board will likely have a called meeting in the next several weeks “to discuss the replacement process.”
The board passed a General Purpose School Fund resolution budgeting $358,905 that Weakley County has received from a Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant to finance a project providing distance learning and/or telemedicine services in rural areas.
The grant is all federal money, and requires no local tax dollars.
The funds will be utilized to purchase equipment for the School Department’s District Office, Westview High School, and additional distance learning classrooms at Dresden and Martin middle schools.
Other Board Action
The school board also took the following action:
- Granted tenure to several teachers.
- Hired Angelia Culley as a volunteer softball coach at Westview, and Tasha Jones as a non-faculty volleyball coach at Martin Middle School.
- Approved a foreign exchange student from Italy to attend Westview High School for the second semester of the 2022-2023 schoolyear.
- The board also approved several school field trips.
Weakley County Schools Agriculture Fair
During the meeting, Lindsey Parham, who serves as Weakley County Schools Career Technical Education Supervisor, announced the first Weakley County Schools Agriculture Fair and judging was held in the Weakley County Personal Development Center on Thursday Jan. 5, 2023.
The Agriscience students from Dresden and Westview had their Agriscience Fair projects on display before the meeting, and students were on hand to answer questions about their projects.
The student’s entries were judged by UT Martin’s Dr. Will Bird and Dr. Barbara Darroch, Associate Professors, Department of Agriculture, Geoscience, and Natural Resources.
According to Parham, agriscience students from Dresden High School and Westview High School, under the guidance and instruction from teachers Jessica Browning (DHS) and David Hochreiter (WHS), researched, performed studies, and conducted a variety of interesting experiments that combined agriculture with science.
Parham said Hochreiter and Browning, contacted her in October 2022 about hosting a countywide agriscience fair. She stated, currently, there is no regional competition for such an event, so local winners will participate in state competition.
“The fair was open to all four of our high schools and their ag programs, and Westview and Dresden decided to take part in that,” Parham said.
Hochreiter said, “For a long time Weakley County has stood out for having one of the best countywide ag programs in the State of Tennessee. Hopefully, we are starting something that will continue for many more years to come.”
Hochreiter stated students had the option of conducting research in one of the six different categories. “These skills that students were developing are based on the scientific method. Everything these students are learning can be applied in and outside of the classroom. As a producer on the farm, if something’s not working, they have to figure what’s not working and how to fix it,” Hochreiter said.
Browning expressed her appreciation to the board for permitting the agriscience fair to be held in the Weakley County Personal Development Center building and for allowing ag programs to continue educating students in the field of agriculture.
The ag students stood to be recognized and stated what school they attend.
Weakley County Personal Development Center
Director of Student Services for Weakley County Schools, Mark Maddox, listed the various educational programs housed inside the Weakley County Personal Development Center. He stated the facility offers classes for adults and children, including: the Adult Basic Education Program, the nursing program for the Tennessee College of Applied Technology out of Paris, a welding class for the Tennessee College of Applied Technology of McKenzie, the Alternative School, the home of the Coordinated School Health Program, and the Technology Department.
“We also have a couple of community rooms that are really good for training,” Maddox said.
Additionally, he stated, when the tornado struck on Nov. 10, 2021, the building served as the Tornado Recovery Center. Maddox noted the facility provided shelter for approximately 30 individuals left homeless in the wake of the storm. These tornado victims had access to restrooms and showers.
“We were the command center for most of the recovery effort,” Maddox added. “Since that time, we have been home for the Recovery Group and a lot of people have come here to get assistance.”
In other announcements, School Board Chairman Steve Vantrease offered condolences to Sherry Brawner over the death of her mother; and to the family of the late Linda “Kay” Salmon, who previously worked at Dresden Elementary School.
Vantrease stated the next School Board meeting will take place at Martin Elementary School on Thursday Feb. 2, 2023, beginning at 5:00 p.m.