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Jonas named principal at Liberty Middle School

It was announced recently and again at the West Fargo School Board meeting Monday night that Dr. Denise Jonas has accepted the position as the first principal of Liberty Middle School.

Jonas has served as an Assistant Principal and Activities Director at Cheney Middle School since 2008-09. Prior to her career with West Fargo Public Schools, Jonas was CTE Director and Assistant Principal with Devils Lake Public Schools for six years.

Jonas will remain as assistant principal and activities director at Cheney Middle School for the upcoming 2012-13 school year.

Describing it as a "huge job," Superintendent David Flowers told board members that Jonas will be given support in order to work on staffing and other transition issues in preparation for the opening of Liberty Middle School for the 2013-14 school year.

Flowers also said that he has been meeting with a couple of focal groups comprised of staff looking at a couple of different scenarios regarding hiring a new principal at the West Fargo High School after Cory Steiner's decision to step down.

He noted that the pros and cons of permanent versus interim were being looked at. "We are getting good input and we value that because this is a very important decision for the coming year." Flowers said he is hoping to have a plan in place within the next couple of weeks.

The three members of the school board elected in the recent primary race were sworn in at the meeting start - with incumbents Kay Kiefer and Patti Stedman assuming their second terms, and newly elected member Jeff Shirley, who had also previously served last sitting on the board in 2003, officially taking their oaths of office.

Election of who would lead the board for the 2012-2013 year was held with both decisions unanimous. Kay Kiefer was selected president and Patti Stedman as vice president, an action noted as the first time two women had served in the positions together.

The board also approved the calendar for school board meetings during the 2012-2013 school year. They voted to conduct the meetings on the second and fourth Mondays of the month at 6 p.m., all at the Leidal Education Center, instead of traveling to various school settings.

The board also favored a Special Reserve Resolution not to transfer from the Special Reserve Fund to the General Budget for the 2011-2012 fiscal year so the funding can remain in special reserves and be used in the future years to offset shortfalls.

The budget for 2011-2012 included the transfer to offset the costs of the annual installments for the purchase of land. However, since the current financial picture shows revenues in excess of budgeted projections prior to the Special Reserve Transfer, the administration made the recommendation not to transfer from the Special Reserve Fund for the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Information was also presented on key indicators of learning that the school district staff is monitoring to measure success to see if students are improving in the areas of math, science, reading and language arts, with the goal to increase the number of students who are proficient.

This is goal one of an evolving report on Essential Skills that goes along with the strategic plan for 2011-2016.

Goals two and three are Career and Work Ready and 21st Century Skills. More details of the planning will be presented in steps at future meetings.

The board also accepted the resignation of Amy Martineck as a Special Education Teacher at West Fargo High School. She cited "personal and professional needs of herself and family" as the reasoning behind the request.

The next meeting of the West Fargo School Board will take place Monday, July 23, at 6 p.m. at the Leidal Education Center. All meetings are open to the public.