The Clinton Public School District on Tuesday, May 14, honored its retiring employees. It’s been a joy and a privilege working with these outstanding faculty and staff. Through the years, they have touched the lives of thousands of students, and their contributions to our community cannot be measured.
Retirees were honored during the May school board meeting in the Central Office boardroom.
The 2012-13 retirees are:
• Charlotte Denson, bus driver, Transportation department
Denson has been a bus driver in the Clinton Public School District since 1983, and has also worked part-time as a cashier at Clinton High School.
“Driving a bus is a great part-time or full-time job,” she said. “I would recommend it to any stay-home mom or retiree looking for extra income and to get out of the house. The students certainly keep you on your toes.”
Denson grew up in Jackson. She attended Barr Elementary, Hardy Junior High and graduated from Central High School. She began her career as a secretary at State Farm Insurance when she was a student. After graduation, she worked for Globe Life and Accident, Standard Life Insurance and later as a legal secretary at a law firm in Jackson.
“In 1983 when my son Chuck entered first grade, my husband Charles stopped to see Superintendent Dr. Virgil Belue,” she said. “We were moving from Brandon to Bolton and we needed to see what school district we were in. It wasn’t Clinton’s district. The only way the kids could attend Clinton was for one of us to work for the district.”
Belue suggested that she could drive a bus, adding that it was not much different than driving a car.
“Dr. Belue suggested Charles give me a small box and have me drive around a corner, then give me a larger box and do the same,” she said. “He explained to Charles that the difference was you had to swing wider with the bigger box. That was the difference between the car and bus.”
Denson entered the class, took all the required tests, passed and spent the next 30 years as a school bus driver.
After retirement, she plans to relax, work with her church choir, scrapbook, be there for her grandchildren, work in her garden and continue with her houses.
• Barbara Ferguson, teacher, CHS Career Complex
Ferguson is a Clinton resident and has taught Career Pathway Education at Clinton High School for the past 20 years. She has more than 30 years in education.
During her extensive teaching career, Ferguson was named a Metro Jackson Teacher of the Year, Clinton Public School District Teacher of the Year, CHS Teacher of the Year and CHS Career Complex Teacher of the Year.
One of her favorite accomplishments is the development and grant funding of the CHS Career Manual.
She is a graduate of Delta State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in business education. She holds a Master of Education degree from Mississippi State University in vocational education. She has been a National Board Certified Teacher for the past 13 years.
She currently serves on the board of directors of the Clinton Chamber of Commerce.
She and her husband Kennon have two children, Grant and Alanna. They are members of Morrison Heights Baptist Church, where she serves on various committees.
After retirement, Ferguson plans to work as an adjunct professor at Hinds Community College, and travel with her husband.
• Jackie Franklin, librarian, Eastside Elementary
Franklin has been a librarian at Eastside since 1994, and spent one year as librarian at both Eastside and Lovett. Prior to that, she worked for the Mid-Mississippi Regional Library in Kosciusko and at the Mitchell Memorial Library at Mississippi State University.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in library science with a K-12 library/media teacher endorsement from Mississippi University for Women. She is a member of Mississippi Professional Educators and an active member of Country Woods Baptist Church.
She and her husband Larry Franklin have two children, LeAnne Brady, married to Chris Brady, and Van Franklin, married to Vicky Meadows Franklin.
“My husband and I plan to enjoy this new time in our lives just being thankful that we will have the opportunity to experience all that retirement will bring,” she said. “This certainly will include lots of travel.”
• Ann Kyzar, teacher, Clinton High School
Kyzar has worked at Clinton High School for 26 ½ years. Prior to that, she taught for two years at Warren Central High School. She has worked as an adjunct professor at Mississippi College since 2005.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in combined sciences, both from Mississippi College. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and has been named a STAR Teacher four times.
She and her husband Ronald have two children, James, a chemical engineer at WGK in Clinton, and Sara Kyzar, a pediatric nurse at Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital, and one granddaughter, Maggie Kyzar.
“After retirement, I plan to teach part-time at Mississippi College and work with my husband in his insurance business,” she said. “I also will have time to help our three aging parents.”
• Richard Lieding, speech teacher, Eastside Elementary
Lieding has served as a speech/language pathologist and hearing impaired specialist in the Clinton Public School District since 1986, and taught students ages 3-21. Prior to that, he taught in the Speech department at Mississippi College, taught at the Magnolia Speech School, and served as a counselor and an assistant house parent at Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, Mo.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish from Lindenwood Colleges in St. Charles, Mo., and a master’s degree in speech and hearing science from Washington University in St. Louis.
Lieding is on the board of directors of the Brain Injury Association of Mississippi, and has served on the board of St. Therese Elementary School in Jackson.
His honors and awards include Eastside Teacher of the Month (May 2012), Clinton Public Schools Appreciation Award (May 1994), Henly/Perry Child Advocacy Award (May 1993) and Teacher of the Year nomination at Magnolia Speech School (1985).
He is married and has two daughters and a son and six granddaughters. He is a member of St. Therese Parish. In the Knights of Columbus, he was awarded Knight of the Year three times and Family of the Year.
• Janet Madden, bus driver, Transportation department
Madden has worked for the Clinton Public School District more than 30 years. In addition to bus driving, she has also worked as a cashier and assistant manager at the Clinton High School cafeteria. Both of her daughters graduated with honors from CHS.
“I have been fortunate to work with four great supervisors over the years, Doyle Thompson, Buddy Pirie, Tim Willis and Terry Harris,” she said. “For the most part, I have also been fortunate to have students with caring and concerned parents which makes a bus driver’s job much easier.”
Madden said some of her former students now have children who ride her bus.
“Driving a bus has fit well with my lifestyle,” she said. “I come out my front door, walk 20 feet to my bus and in five minutes I am at my first pick-up. After my morning route I volunteer at the CARA animal shelter until time for the evening route. Then back to the shelter after the evening route.”
Her friend (and fellow retiree) Charlotte Denson made sure Madden got all her memos, checks and bus news for the past 31 years.
“There is never a dull moment on a school bus and it’s not a job for the faint of heart,” Madden said. “You can acquire valuable information as a bus driver … now my teenagers have tried to keep me from being too old-fashioned by keeping me up on the latest trends and lingo.”
After retirement, Madden plans to continue as shelter director at CARA and to spend more time with family.
• Dalma Moore, teacher, Clinton Alternative School
Moore has 38 ½ years of teaching experience and has taught in Greenville, Cleveland, Greenwood, Jackson and Clinton. She taught in Clinton for 22 years, 21 at Eastside Elementary and one at the Clinton Alternative School.
She holds a bachelor’s degree and a Masters of Reading K-12 degree, both from Delta State University. She earned 25 hours toward a specialist degree in reading from Delta State. At DSU, her job was editing doctorate dissertations. She was a member of the Kappa Delta Pi graduate honors society.
“I have always had a passion for teaching,” she said. “It is nothing like the sparkle in a child’s eyes when he or she catches onto something that they have had a hard time understanding. I believe that each and every child is capable of learning and working up to his or her potential if a teacher uses different techniques and strategies and has a rapport with the student. This is what reading and learning are all about — and believe me, I learned. I stressed to the students that they must develop their brains with practice just like a football player practices each day to develop his muscles using different formations and techniques.”
Moore said she taught every student as if they were ACCENT students, and if they tried, they excelled. She used a visual aid that showed how reading does jog your mind and for a few years, started “Eastside Walking.”
“Many students met early and we walked around Eastside trying not only to improve our physical bodies but also our minds,” she said. “Wow! Some kids really passed the goals that I had set. This is what being a teacher is, loving a child as he is and teaching him as a whole.
“I will miss this, but I will have my grandchildren — Caroline, Emma, Laura, Landon and Walt — to keep me going with my skills.”
Moore said she also plans to spend time with her husband of 39 years Skip Moore and her daughters and sons-in-law Lori and Stephen Prather, Jennifer and Derek Dale and Julie and Noah Roberts.
• Jane Perry, teacher, Eastside Elementary
Perry has worked 26 years in education, with 19 at Eastside Elementary and seven in the Hinds County School District. She holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Education, both from Mississippi College.
She and her husband Allen are active in First Baptist Church in Clinton. They have two children, Kevin Perry of Birmingham, Ala., and a Julie Perry Anderson of Atlanta; and one grandson, Owen Anderson.
• Laura Purdie, director, Special Education department
Purdie has worked for 30 years in the Clinton Public School District. She student taught at Northside Elementary, where she was hired as a teacher. She has served as director of Special Education since 2008.
She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in special education and a Master of Education degree in special education and psychometry, both from Mississippi College.
Prior to being named director of Special Education, Purdie worked as a psychometrist, positive behavior specialist and homebound teacher in CPSD from 1995-2008. She was a second- and third-grade special education teacher at Northside from 1983-1995.
She serves on the Council for Exceptional Children and a member of the Mississippi Association of Psychology in the Schools.
She and her husband Jim have four children and two grandchildren. She attends Calvary Baptist Church in Jackson, where she serves as a deacon, choir member and children’s choir teacher. She is also involved in Calvary’s inner-city ministry His Heart.
• Lynne Waterbury, teacher, Clinton Junior High
Waterbury has been a teacher for 36 years, with 27 years at Clinton Junior High School.
In retirement, she plans to ride her bike more, take more photos, rock her new grandbaby, and spend more time with her parents and her other grandchildren. She and her husband Bobby will continue to hike in the mountains.
• Vera Watson, teacher, Clinton Junior High
Watson is a 1972 and 1976 graduate of Jackson State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in education and a Master of Art degree in teaching. She has worked in the Clinton Public School District for 37 years, and has served as an adjunct professor in the Education department at JSU for seven years.
“I did my practice teaching at Sumner Hill High School and my first job was at Sumner Hill,” she said. “After the Clinton Public School District included Sumner Hill and Lovett, I was moved to Clinton Junior High where I remained until my retirement.”
She is past president of the Clinton Association of Educators, a former Teacher of the Year, member of the Superintendent’s Advisory Committee, Honor Society selection committee, past board member of the Mississippi Association of Educators, past president of the Jackson-Hinds alumni chapter of JSU (serving two terms), life member of the JSU National Alumni Association, board member of the Blue Bengal Athletic Association, Inc., JSU Honor Roll of Donors and a member of the Clay-Lackey Society. She currently serves as the JSU National Alumni Mississippi regional vice president.
Watson is very involved in the community. She is a member of the League of Women Voters, past president and board member of the Clinton Christian Community Corporation, secretary of the C.A. Williams Federated Women’s Club, vice chair and board member of the Mississippi Association for the Preservation of the Smith Robertson Museum and Alamo Theatre, life member of the NAACP (serving as treasurer of the Clinton branch NAACP), and secretary of the Mississippi Coalition on Black Higher Education.
She is an active member of the New McRaven Hill Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of the Rev. Jesse Sutton Jr., where she serves as church clerk, adult Sunday school teacher, Christian education director, vacation bible school director and member of the adult choir. She is a certified Dean of Christian Education through the Sunday School Publishing Board in Nashville, Tenn., teacher in the Certificate of Progress Program, and president of the Jackson district Women’s Auxiliary of the Mississippi Baptist Convention USA, Inc. One of her favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Her motto is, “If I can help somebody along the way, I know my living will not be in vain.”
Her daughters are Jocylyn Watson Coleman, married to Kenneth Coleman, and LaTrenda Watson, both graduates of JSU. She has three grandchildren, Wisdom, Kayla and Kenneth Jr.
After retirement, she said, she plans to run for political office.
(Biographical information was not available for Northside teacher assistant Teresa Marler or Clinton Park teacher assistant Elizabeth Denman)
Tyler Wade, former soccer standout at Mississippi College, is the new head coach of the Arrows soccer team.
“Coach Wade will be a great fit for this position,” said Dr. Clay Norton, athletic director. “He was an outstanding player and has shown a lot of promise as a coach.”
In high school, Wade was a two-year starter for the Pearl High School soccer team and was part of three state championships. After graduating in 2006, he went on to Mississippi College where he was a two-year team captain and first team All-American Southwest Conference during his senior season.
He has six years’ coaching experience, including at the Jackson Futbol Club. He currently coaches in the Division I program of the Mississippi Brilla Juniors Futbol Club.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and is working on a master’s degree in Athletic Administration. In addition to coaching, he will also teach at Clinton Alternative School.
Daniel Cox will continue as assistant coach of the Arrows. At Clinton High School, Cox was a three-year member of the boys soccer team, winning state championships in 2005 and 2006.
Cox holds a BA in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Curriculum Instruction from the University of Mississippi. At Ole Miss, Cox coached youth soccer teams for three years, both at the club and recreation level and was certified as a D-licensed coach by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
He teaches English, history and geography at Clinton Alternative School.
Michael Brown coached the Arrows soccer team during the 2012-13 school year. He recently completed a degree in physical therapy and is leaving to pursue a career in this field.
Summer school will be held June 3 through July 12 at Clinton High School.
For a lot of students, summer classes are a second chance at passing a grade. It’s an opportunity for them to get caught up and stay on track with their classmates.
Courses are open for Clinton Public School District students as well as students from other areas. Application forms for summer school are available online at www.clintonpublicschools.com. The deadline to enroll is Friday, May 31.
Available course offerings include English I, English II, English III, English IV, U.S. History 1877-Present, World History, Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, Biology I, Earth Science, Driver Education, U.S. Government, and Health.
All courses will be offered in computer labs, with online courses through Ed Options.
For half-credit courses, the fee is $150; for all other courses the fee is $300 per class. The cost for out-of-district students is $175 per half-credit course and $350 per full-credit course. Health is $100 and will only be offered to CPSD students.
Students must make arrangements for their own transportation.
All courses, with the exception of Driver Education and Health, will be offered for credit recovery only. Driver Education and Health will be offered to first-time students. Health class will only be required to meet at the school for orientation and two other scheduled meetings during which the mid-term and final exams will be administered.
“During the summer, we expect students to follow the dress code, be on time and not miss any days,” Burchfield said. “We expect model students. This is an opportunity for them academically and it’s their responsibility to follow the guidelines and complete the coursework.”
Students enrolling in summer school will meet from 8-10 a.m. on June 3 to receive class assignments. Students will report back at their assigned time on Tuesday, June 4. Class times will be from 8 – 10:15 a.m. and from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.
There will be a holiday on July 4. Summer school will be under the direction of Dr. Eddie Peasant, CHS principal.
Belhaven University in Jackson is hosting the event for the Southeast region, and chose the CHS facilities for a number of reasons.
“This allows us to showcase our facilities, especially our fastpitch softball field,” said Dr. Clay Norton, Clinton Public School District athletic director. “We have a regulation-size field and it’s well lighted. Not everyone has a facility like we have.”
Former CHS fastpitch softball coach Kevin Griffin is now the head softball coach at Belhaven. For Belhaven to host the tournament, the games had to be played on a neutral site and not Belhaven’s home field.
“This isn’t costing the Clinton school district anything,” Norton said. “It’s actually going to help our softball team because they are collecting the concessions. The tournament is providing security, ticket-takers, press box and everything.”
The games are open to the public, and teams from throughout the Southeast will be competing. The Southeast region champion will advance to the NAIA Softball National Championship in Columbus, Ga., on May 24-30.
“They arrive on Mother’s Day, May 12,” Norton said. “There will be practice times on the field and games begin on May 13.”
Games will be held in the afternoons and shouldn’t impact the regular school day at CHS, he said.
“I hope this is something we can continue in the coming years,” Norton said. “If they do it right, this is something that could be repeated.”
Game times are: 2 and 5 p.m. Monday, May 13; 1, 3:30 and 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 14; and 1 and 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 15.
Read more about the tournament here:
The Clinton School Board is considering a policy that would require random drug testing of students involved in athletics and most extracurricular activities.
“This is something we’re doing as a deterrent,” said Dr. Clay Norton, athletic director. “We already have policies to address drug use on campus, but we want to give students more incentive not to use illegal drugs at all, anywhere.”
The Board reviewed a draft of the policy at its regular April meeting. It will revisit the policy again in May.
“We looked at other school districts’ policies as well as policies in place at colleges and universities,” said Norton, who compiled the policy. “We also spoke with Clinton Junior High, Sumner Hill and Clinton High School. Each school formed a committee of coaches, sponsors and others involved in student extracurricular activities.”
The proposed policy covers all sports and activities regulated by the Mississippi High School Activities Association, as well as choirs, student government and honor societies in grades 7-12. For junior high and high school students to participate in these things, Norton said, the policy would require that they submit to random drug testing.
The consequences of testing positive are based on percentages, so that punishment is equitable across the different sports and activities.
“On the first violation, the student would be suspended immediately from participating in the sport or activity in which they are currently participating for a minimum 25 percent of the total events for that season,” Norton said. “If their season is over for the year, the punishment would carry over to the next academic year.”
For instance, the cross country team has 12 competitions in its season, so a student testing positive would be suspended immediately for the next three cross country meets.
If a student tests positive, Norton said, parents will be notified and counseling services will be recommended.
Students who test positive would also be required to submit to periodic, unannounced re-tests each month for nine months. Refusal to submit to drug testing would be viewed as an automatic positive.
“On second violation the student would be suspended immediately for 50 percent of competitions or performances,” Norton said.
A third violation would result in the student being suspended from activities for a full calendar year, and upon a fourth violation, the student would be permanently barred from participating in sports or activities in the Clinton Public School District.
The number of competitions and performances per sport or activity would be re-evaluated at the beginning of every year once each sport or activity released its schedule. Once the number of competitions and performances is determined, the appropriate number of suspensions will be determined based on percentages.
Violations would be cumulative, he added. A student who tested positive in junior high, for example, would be cited with a second violation if he or she tested positive again throughout junior high and high school.
For student leadership organizations, including student council and National Honor Society, a positive drug test would mean automatic dismissal.
Since CPSD currently contracts with MEA for drug testing services, MEA would likely be the vendor to conduct student drug tests. The student tests would be done by urinalysis.
The testing done by MEA registers common substances, including methamphetamines, barbiturates, marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and opiates, and also an exhaustive list of less well-known substances. It also detects adulterants — substances that people use to mask drug use.
“There is ‘stuff’ that users can take to help make a test negative by cleansing their system,” he said. “If adulterants are present, it is reported to us as having something in the specimen that is not consistent with normal human urine. This can flag a sample for additional testing.”
Clinton High School’s tennis team, led by coach David Duke and assistant coach Geary Howell, had another successful season.
“We are very pleased with the team’s performance this year and we hope to have another state champion at the upcoming tournament,” Duke said.
The Arrows finished the regular season with an overall record of 11-2. They are Region 3 District 6 champions and competed for a state championship, “which are always team goals for the season,” Duke said.
In the first round of playoffs, Clinton defeated Grenada 7-0. In the second round, the Arrows lost a close battle with Northwest Rankin 4-3.
During the individual district tournament, Clinton had a great showing with seven winners and two runners-up who will get to compete at the state tennis tournament at Parham Bridges Park in Jackson on May 2-3.
The district winners who will compete at this tournament include:
• Chandler Duke – singles
• Arthi Reddy and Saideep Reddy – mixed doubles
• Eric Prather and Hunter Tharp – boys doubles
• Sara Catherine Joseph and Siri Yarlagadda – girls doubles
Alden Hartley and Robin Russell are runners-up in girls doubles and will also compete at the 6A state tournament.
In just two weeks, National Junior Honor Society students at Sumner Hill Junior High and their classmates raised more than $2,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“MDA raised money for their walk on April 27,” said Kamesha Williams, counseling intern at Sumner Hill Junior High. “The money is used for research, and also to help kids with muscular dystrophy, to pay for things like summer camps, wheelchairs and other equipment.”
Williams has a form of muscular dystrophy, and formed a team for the walk with a fundraising goal of $500.
“When she told me about her team and the fundraiser, I asked our National Junior Honor Society students if they wanted to help out,” said Mamie Lilley, teacher and NJHS sponsor at Sumner Hill. “They started working on it two weeks ago, and they were able to raise $2,019.36.”
Kamesha Williams (third from left), counseling intern at Sumner Hill Junior High, stands with National Junior Honor Society students (from left, Michael Brown, Ethan Cowan, Maddie Howell, Michayla Mack and Siri Yarlagadda). As part of the Muscular Dystrophy Association fundraiser, NJHS students sold paper footprints and hung them in the hallway at Sumner Hill.
Before the fundraiser started, students learned about muscular dystrophy and “even if you’re diagnosed with it, you don’t have to let it get in the way of your life plans,” said Williams. “There are more than 100 muscle disorders that MDA researches and tries to find cures for.”
Students sold paper footprints for $1, $5, $10 or $20 each. As the footprints sold, they were taped to a wall in the hallway.
“The kids worked so hard to make this possible,” Lilley said. “We’re excited about the result.”
“There were 62 ensembles in the preliminary competition on Thursday, with Clinton finishing second in its round,” said Band Director Mickey Mangum. “This qualified our students for semi-finals.”
That Thursday evening, Clinton finished third out of the 20 ensembles that qualified for semi-finals, thus qualifying for Friday night’s world championship finals.
“After its finest performance of the year, Clinton Percussion finished in second place among the 12 that qualified for finals,” Mangum said. “We scored a 96.3, earning the title of 2013 WGI Scholastic A silver medalist.”
Indoor Percussion is directed by Welborn, Mangum and assistants Josh Craft and Dustin Hazlett.
The theme of the group’s show this year is “Listen.” The visual designs for the show were done by Nick Benson and the music arrangements were done by David Reeves.
The group this spring also earned a state championship in the Percussion Scholastic Open.
“Our students worked hard all year to prepare for this competition and I’m proud of all they’ve accomplished,” Welborn said.Click here to view an Indoor Percussion photo gallery: