At last week's Roanoke City Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Chuck Marcum chaired his last meeting as superintendent.

Marcum will taking a job with the Alabama State Board of Education in the next week. Marcum closed the meeting by telling the board, "This is my last superintendent's report, and I want to end it with by saying thank you for allowing me to serve as superintendent of this outstanding system for almost 18 years. I have been blessed to work with outstanding board members throughout my 18 years, including the five of you. I am praying for you as you go about the important work of finding our next superintendent. I know you will make a great selection. I want to thank the board members in 2004 - President Rev. Calvin Trammell, Vice President Mrs. Bonnie Sue Knight, Mrs. Myria Armitage, the late Mrs. Earlene Stevenson and Mr. Don Strength - for taking a chance on a 37-year-old who had only been principal at Handley High School for 3 1/2 years. In addition to these five, I want to thank Mr. Timothy Foster, the late Mrs. Marianne Jordan, Mr. Tim Hall, Pastor Steve Baccus, Mrs. Penny Bradshaw and Mrs. Lisa Reed.

"By working together over the past almost 18 years, we have completed over $25 million dollars in capital improvements, have excelled in academics and athletics, and created fine arts opportunities for students that previously did not exist. This was accomplished in a system where over 50 percent of our students qualify for free lunch due to poverty. I will note that despite these financial challenges, we presently have over a three-month cash reserve on hand and project to having a 3.5 reserve at the end of the 2022 fiscal year. The reason for our success includes superb school board members, excellent Roanoke City Schools employees, strong support from parents and the community, and most of all, outstanding students. It has been a blessing for me to have a front-row seat over the past 18 years to watch our system enjoy success. I want to thank everyone in the 'Handley Family' who helps to make RCS special. Once again thanks for your support and always doing what is best for our students. I believe RCS' best days lie ahead. Always remember 'It's a great day to be a Handley Tiger!"

Marcum shared a copy of his application for superintendent, dated Feb. 23, 2004.

In the remainder of his report, Marcum shared the following items:

All of the "Handley Family" were saddened to learn of the passing of Gabe Taylor (HHS senior) on Sept. 1. Marcum said, "I have heard students and staff describe him as someone who was loved by his classmates, a fun guy to be around and a good friend. It is very obvious to me by the outpouring of love from his classmates and the HHS staff that he had an impact on those who knew him. I encourage you to continue to keep his family in your thoughts and prayers as they deal with this tragic loss. "

In addition to dealing with the loss of Gabe, the very next morning, HHS was hit with another tragedy as Mrs. Jill Lackey (HHS assistant principal) received a call that her brother was killed in a motorcycle accident as he was going to work. Please remember this family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Congratulations to Patrice Green (Class of 2012), who has just been named as curator of African-American collections for Penn State University. "I love to see our graduates successfully pursue their dreams. I am proud of Patrice. Patrice is the granddaughter of the late Mrs. Marianne Jordan, who was the president of this board at the time of her passing. I know she would be proud of Patrice," said Marcum.

Knight-Enloe Elementary School had a great turnout for their Grandparents' Day picnic. This is a special day for grandparents and students. "I still remember how much my two children enjoyed this day when they were in kindergarten," said Marcum. "I appreciate everyone at KES who worked to make this happen in a safe environment during these challenging times."

Marcum told the board, "I enjoyed visiting with Dr. David Roper earlier this month. Dr. Roper was RCS Superintendent for five years (1999-2004). I will always be indebted to him for recommending me to be the principal at HHS, which was my first job in administration. He is now retired and living in Greenville, S.C. I tried to get him and Mrs. Sandy Roper to share the location of the 'fountain of youth' from which they are drinking. They both look great!

COVID update

Marcum gave an update to the board on the COVID outbreak so far this school year. "I want to thank all students and staff who have followed the temporary mask requirements we implemented last month," he said. "Based on our daily data, I believe our masks have helped to reduce the spread of COVID. The masks, frequent hand washing, social distancing, air scrubbers and enhanced cleaning are all ways to help mitigate the virus. Our temporary mask requirement was to run through Sept. 17, and then a decision would be made on an extension. I made the decision that we will extend the temporary mask order until Nov. 1. Hopefully, this will give enough time for the school board to have my successor in place and also give the next superintendent time to review the data to determine if extending the mask requirement is needed."

The yearly totals as of Sept. 17: Positive students, HHS - 56, Handley Middle School -39 and KES-30. Positive staff, HHS-7, HMS-4 and KES-7. Last week (Sept. 13-17) was the best week of the year. The system had only four students and 0 staff test positive. The absenteeism was the lowest it has been all year. Marcum said, "I am cautiously optimistic that we have turned the corner on this strand of COVID. I am concerned that with our low rate of vaccination that we will be susceptible to the next variant that comes along."

Personnel Actions

The board approved the following personnel actions:

  • Transfer of Jenna Treadwell from her position as fifth-grade science teacher at HMS to media specialist at KES.
  • Pay certified teachers, as needed, $40/hour for after-school tutoring (Beyond the Bell) during the 2021-2022 school year. The tutoring will take place at HMS. The funding will be paid from ESSER II.
  • Allison Clark and Hannah Hill as substitute teachers.
  • Je'Lynn Frieson, Vernesa Waters and Kenya Owensby as substitute nurses.

 Called meeting

The board will meet in a special called meeting on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 6:30 p.m. The prupose of the meeting is to discuss the superintendent search. Sept. 27 is the application deadline.

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