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State recognizes Menahga elementary principal in Park Rapids in July

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Menahga Elementary Principal Joleen DeLaHunt has been awarded the 2011 MESPA Division Leadership Achievement Award from the Minnesota Elementary School Principals' Association.

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She was recognized by the Menahga School Board at its Thursday night meeting.

"Great principals lead great schools," said P. Fred Storti, MESPA executive director. "These men and women are leaders in our profession and truly represent the very best in Minnesota public schools. As leaders, we focus on the potential and possibilities to ignite hope within our schools.

DeLaHunt has worked in education for 20 years. She has been principal at the Menahga Elementary School for the past 11 years. Previously, she taught Spanish at the high school and junior high level for nine years - seven of those spent teaching at Wadena-Deer Creek School. She earned her administrative degree and specialty license from St. Cloud State University.

Menahga Superintendent Mary Klamm had glowing words for DeLaHunt.

"The quality of her work is reflected in how the school is run, by the environment and culture there and that she is always working to improve it. She is one of the best," Klamm said.

DeLaHunt said the award is especially meaningful because the recipient is nominated and selected by their professional colleagues and that it is an honor to be selected for such an award.

In other business, the board:

n Requested having a proposal from the licensed personnel union by March 1.

Board member Curtis Hasbargen said he wanted to "get the ball rolling" so the board had plenty of time to react and negotiate.

n Approved the addition of a new board committee that will review staff development, curriculum and technology. The committee will consist of staff, one board member and members of the public. Mel Lockhart will be the board representative.

n Approved purchasing a transformer for $3,120 to light the baseball fields.

Klamm said it was discovered that because the school district didn't own the transformer it had been paying about $2,000 per year more. By purchasing the transformer, the district should be able to cover the lighting costs by charging non-school organizations for using the lights.

Staff was directed to come up with a contract that can be given to organizations that would like to use the baseball field lights.

n Received an update from Klamm and DeLaHunt on budget reduction recommendations.

Klamm said they had been brainstorming ways to make cuts but were early in the process. They will be talking with any staff that could be affected by any recommendations before they come to the board, she said.

n Purchased a walk-in freezer from Graham Refrigeration for $23,527 plus $300 for phased electric work. This was the low quote. Leading Edge submitted a quote for $33,200 plus $700 for phased electric work.

n Directed staff to change wording on a form that employees need to sign for a background check.

Board member said that the way the form was worded it was too intrusive and the group performing the background checks could find information that wasn't necessary to working at the school.

Lockhart agreed.

He is a former State Trooper and said the way the form is worded the background check could include looking up whether a person was abused as a child, which isn't necessary.

The school district performs a background check through the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and checks with local agencies.

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Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
(218) 732-3364
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