The district paid tribute to the dedication of Jane McDonald, treasurer’s assistant, and secretary Cindy Schimpff. During Tuesday’s meeting, the school board approved McDonald’s Jan. 1 retirement; she has served the district for 20 years. Schimpff has been with the school system for 34 years.
Treasurer Joyce Dupont at one point worked for Norwalk as a bus driver. She said McDonald was one of the first friendly faces she encountered in the district and is known for her “whimsical sense of humor” and hospitality.
“We greatly appreciate your dedication to the school system,” Dupont added.
Corey Ream, director of operations since Aug. 1, 2015, paid tribute to Schimpff. He said he hopes any time one of her grandchildren rings the bell that district gave her that she would be reminded of her “34 years of outstanding service.” Ream, who also was the Norwalk Middle School principal, said Schimpff is one of many excellent secretaries with whom he has worked.
“Thank you for making my life much easier the last year-and-a-half,” Ream added.
In other personnel news, the board accepted the Jan. 9 resignation of Norwalk High School social studies and technology teacher Christopher Cloud, who is pursuing another employment opportunity. The district, at the recommendation of Superintendent George Fisk, turned down Cloud’s request for a two-year leave of absence, which would have started Jan. 9.
Cloud, in a letter to Fisk and the board, said he hoped to continue to “develop my professional and educational knowledge” by pursuing an undisclosed opportunity, which he believes will broaden his “professional horizons and enhance (his) educational knowledge.” Having been with the district for 15 years, he said since he couldn’t change the start date and if the board wouldn’t approve his leave-of-absence, he had to tender his resignation.
NHS science teacher Rod Thimke, who called Cloud “an all-around good guy,” asked the board to reconsider turning down his leave of absence, especially since there had been a precedent of accepting teachers’ similar requests.
During the educational spotlight, several Pleasant Elementary students in Olivia Gamble’s second-grade class shared the STEM projects they have undertaken. STEM is the educational acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The students said the projects have helped them think in innovative ways and be better problem-solvers.
“They really enjoy doing these,” Gamble told the board, noting many times their final products don’t resemble one another. “They are all very different.”
Also, the district accepted the following donations:
• $1,000 grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation to purchase a Clevertouch device for League Elementary. Clevertouch is an interactive LED monitor that runs Android apps and is wi-fi compatible.
• $5,000 grant from Project Lead The Way for the NMS Creation Station.
• Five deaf-friendly fire alarms from the Community Center for the Deaf and Hard-of Hearing. The Norwalk Fire Department will install the devices.