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New school board member sworn in, parents honored

A new board member was sworn in during the Tuesday afternoon Picayune Separate Municipal School District meeting.

Frank Ford was sworn in to replace the board appointment formerly occupied by Patti Stewart. Ford was appointed by Picayune’s City Council at their first meeting in March.

Superintendent Dean Shaw took a moment during the meeting to recognize Diane Cruse, who for the past four years has worked through the Fred Cruse III Foundation to provide bicycles to children in the district. Shaw said last school year the Foundation donated 86 bicycles. This school year the number increased to 105 bicycles, Shaw said. Children in seven district schools benefited from the donation.

“I know the bicycles are very special to those in our community,” Shaw said.

The donation was so special to one grandmother, Shaw said, she was crying when she picked up the bicycle.

The board also recognized special parents for each school. One of those exceptional parents additionally received the honor of being named District Parent of the Year.

For Nicholson Elementary the Parent of the Year is Tessa Crawford. She was described as a parent who is very active in the Parent Teacher Organization and has even agreed to continue helping at the school even though her children will attend other schools next year.

Shannon Crocker was chosen as Parent of the Year for the Jr. High. Crocker was described as a parent who conducts excellent work.

The high school selected two parents, Paige Stockstill and Valerie Griggs. They were both described as parents who were down in the trenches completing work that benefited all students, not just their own children.

Roseland Park Elementary’s Parent of the Year is Chris Dusang. Dusang built an obstacle course in his own swimming pool so the students could practice for the SeaPerch competition.

South Side Upper Elementary’s Parent of the Year is Kristen Watkins, who has been supportive of every activity at the school.

South Side Lower Elementary’s Parent of the Year is Leah Warino, who was instrumental in raising funds for the school’s pavilion and marquee.

West Side Elementary’s parent of the year is Tammy Stockstill, who created a flyer called Gator Tips. The flyer contains information on how to help children with their homework and to build their self-esteem.

The District Parent of the Year is Chris Dusang.

The board discussed supplemental pay to the football coaches and department heads, which Assistant Superintendent Brent Harrell said is included in their contracts.

Shaw said the staff eligible for supplements put in more than the typical 16 extra days during the summer.

“That’s one of the reasons we are so successful with our sports is because of the extra time our coaches put in,” Shaw said.

Harrell said the amount approved this year is the same as what was approved last year. A total amount of the supplement was requested, but not available by press time.

The next board meeting is set for 5:30, April 8.

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