City Board of Education prepares for upcoming school year

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Cullman High School instructor Ken Gleaton speaks to the Cullman City School Board regarding an incident that earned him a 10-day suspension. (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman City Board of Education on Thursday morning voted unanimously to suspend Cullman High School (CHS) instructor Ken Gleaton for 10 days without pay, per Superintendent Kyle Kallhoff’s recommendation. The suspension stemmed from an alleged verbal altercation between Gleaton and CHS Assistant Principal Aaron Sparks on June 30.   

Before the vote, Gleaton was provided the opportunity to take the floor and to provide documentation to dispute the recommendation for suspension.  

Empathically stating that he has never had issues with the multitude of students, instructors and others he has come across in his 26 years of teaching, Gleaton said, “The big thing is I want to come across is some of the documentation that I read that Mr. Sparks has stated is not completely accurate. I would like to say, and I’ve already expressed this to (CHS Principal) Ms. (Allison) Tuggle, if anything that I said came across in the way it was presented was aggressive and maybe perceived as a threat I apologize to her. I apologize to you, and I apologize to Mr. Sparks. That was not the intent.” 

Gleaton went on to say that he felt the proposed suspension was not appropriate as the incident was “a disagreement between two adults.” 

Despite Gleaton’s statement in the open meeting and the additional information he provided to the board in the closed session, the board opted to uphold Kallhoff’s recommendation for a 10-day suspension without pay. 

Building updates 

Kallhoff reported the school system is working with an architect to develop plans for a maintenance barn on Stadium Drive Northeast and Hoehn Drive Northeast near the primary school. The high school is looking to enclose the upstairs of the library to create an additional classroom. The superintendent reported that a class has been meeting in the space but needs the privacy other classes are given. 

The elementary schools are being spruced up for the upcoming school year with painting, carpet cleaning and hardwood refinishing at East Elementary. West Elementary is amid HVAC and dehumidifier upgrades, painting and the refinishing of the gymnasium floors.  

Recognitions 

The system was recently recognized as an Alabama Reading Initiative Science of Reading Spotlight District, only one of two school districts in the state to achieve the honor.  

Two students from the school district, Forrest Calvert and Gage Howard, participated in the 2022 4-H Shooting Sports National Championship in Grand Island, Nebraska, with their team finishing 15th in the country. 

In other business, the board entered contracts with the following: 

  • Susan Nesmith for part-time English Language Teacher services from Aug. 4, 2022 – May 26, 2023 
  • Sharon Wilson for as-needed clerical duties from July 11, 2022 – June 30, 2023 
  • Haley Chambers for music education for Head Start from Aug. 1, 2022 – May 31, 2023, using Head Start Grant funds 
  • Haley Chambers for music education for Pre-K from Aug. 1, 2022 – May 31, 2023, using Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE) Office of School Readiness (OSR) funds 
  • Paige Hanson for physical education for Head Start from Aug. 1, 2022 – May 31, 2023, using Head Start Grant Funds 
  • Paige Hanson for physical education for Pre-K from Aug. 1, 2022 – May 31, 2023, using ADECE OSR grant funds 
  • Susan Cooper for Special Education training from July 15, 2022 – Aug. 4, 2022 
  • Lois Bice for Extended Day Program services from July 15, 2022 – May 31, 2023 

Additional action items taken were: 

  • Termination of contract with Sharon Tidmore 
  • Approval of 2022-2023 salary schedule 
  • Financial report for May 2022 
  • Approval of revised Career Coach job description along with salary schedule 
  • Approval of 2022-2023 breakfast and lunch prices 
  • Approval of stipends for: 
  1. Special Education law training 
  1. English Language Arts training for new Harcourt textbook curriculum 
  1. English Language Arts and Math Pacing Guides and Grading Parameters training 
  1. Performance Matters training 
  1. English Language Arts Pacing Guides training 
  1. Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative training 

The following consent agenda items were approved: 

  • 2022-2023 academic calendar revisions 
  • Student Code of Conduct revisions 
  • Salvaging of tricycles and wheelbarrows in fair to poor condition from Head Start 

A public hearing will be held at the Cullman City Board of Education central office July 19 at 4 p.m. A special-called board meeting will be at 8 a.m. July 28 at central office, and the next regular board meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Aug. 16 at the same location. 

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