JMCSS Appoints Ethics and Charter School Committees


The Jackson-Madison County School Board has appointed community members to the ethics committee that investigates JMCSS employee violations and to a charter school committee that will review applications.

The board reappointed Pamela Bates, a former elementary school teacher from Denmark for 30 years, Bill Kipp, a former steel company human resources employee, and Paul Lacy, a Gibson County pastor, to the ethics committee for a another one-year term.

Kipp and Lacy have served since first district committee was appointed in October 2019 and Bates was the first appointed in Jan. 2021.

The five-member, all-citizen committee will also include Linda Pride, a Jackson State Community College math professor and former school board candidate, and Richard Donnell, Sr, senior adviser to the president of Lane College.

Pride applied to fill a vacant seat to the school board in 2020 following the resignation of board member Morris Merriweather.

June 2019: The Jackson-Madison Schools Ethics Committee would be comprised of five citizens, no board members or district employees

November 2019: JMCSS Ethics Committee holds first meeting and reviews process

January 2021 Conference Room Pieces: Familiar faces to sit on the ethics committee

The council members recommend citizens for the committee, but council chairman James “Pet” Johnson ultimately nominates the members for the council’s approval.

Board member Janice Hampton recommended Pride as well as Georgia Wright, who was not chosen.

Johnson recommended Donnell and asked Bates to serve another term.

The newly formed JMCSS ethics committee met for the first time on Tuesday to review its duties.  Around the table, from left to right, are Paul Lacy, Bill Kipp, Clarence Boone and Sylvia Showalter.  Committee member Joe Mays was not present.

The committee receives complaints; is responsible for investigating such complaints; and investigates if it learns of violations, with or without formal complaints.

The committee does not deal with disciplinary and political violations.

Ethics violations are limited to what is described in the council’s code of ethics, which includes disclosure of personal interests in voting and non-voting matters, acceptance of gifts or of value, undue influence and ethical complaints.

Charter School Committee

For the charter school committee, community member and pastor Wayne Smith and Madison County finance director Karen Bell were added to the 12 JMCSS district-level administrators already appointed by Superintendent Marlon King. .

In December, Johnson said board member Janice Hampton would also sit on that committee, as she is the current longest-serving board member and was on the board when the district received applications in the past.

Hampton is not listed for the Charter Schools Committee which includes:

  • Black-smith
  • Bell
  • Vivian Williams, Deputy Superintendent of Academics, Students and Schools
  • Ricky Catlett, Assistant Superintendent of Operations, Business and Communications.
  • Bryan Chandler, Operations Manager Responsible for Maintenance, Buildings and Technology
  • Kippi Jordan, Director of Studies for Elementary Grades
  • Tiffany Spight, Director of Secondary Studies
  • Melissa Spurgeon, Director of External Affairs
  • Greg Hammond, Chief of Staff and Public Information
  • Diane Hicks Watkins, Acting Director of Human Resources
  • Shalonda Franklin, Chief of Social and Behavioral Services
  • Catherine Korth, Evaluation and Accountability Manager
  • Frenchie Fuller, Federal Programs Consultant Teacher
  • Tim Gilmer, Support Services Manager in charge of Transportation, Catering, Security and Athletics
Vivian C. Williams, assistant superintendent of scholars, students, and schools, attends the JMC school board meeting at Liberty High School in their auditorium to practice social distancing in Jackson, Tennessee on Monday, August 10, 2020 .

Charter school applications are due Feb. 1, during which time the JMCSS would have 90 days to review and make a recommendation, according to Williams.

“There are four areas that we will need to assess, and those are academics, operations and facilities, finances and past performance,” Williams said.

Policy Changes

Summer programs

Board policy requires Superintendent Marlon King to recommend a plan for summer programs each year. The updated policy adds a deadline — no later than the May board meeting — for this.

Those the state considers priority students “may” be required to attend these summer programs.

The Tennessee Department of Education has identified priority students in January 2021 as part of the Tennessee Learning Loss Remediation and Student Acceleration Act which addresses learning loss caused by the pandemic.

High school students can earn two summer school credits unless they have three unjustified absences.

Advanced courses

The advanced course enrollment policy has been updated with requirements for each type of course. For example, each JMCSS director will determine the test scores and grades required for specialization courses.

Gibson Connect donates money for classroom school supplies

The non-profit organization Gibson Connect, part of the Gibson Electric Membership Corporation, donated $250 to help JMCSS teachers who “often spend their own money helping their students with school supplies,” Gibson Connect said in a letter to the district.

Five teachers will receive $50 donations for signing up for a Gibson Connect internet service by September 2021.

These teachers are Ken Northcut and Robert Maxwell from North Side High School and Brittany Brown, Lacy Porch and Hayley Walker from Thelma Barker Elementary School.

“We hope this will be a real help to our teachers as they begin the new school year,” Gibson Connect telecommunications assistant Dawn Jewell said in the letter.

School Board Appreciation Week

In a joint proclamation, Madison County Mayor Jimmy Harris and City of Jackson Mayor Scott Conger declared January 23-29 School Board Appreciation Week to encourage the JMC community to recognize the council work.

“I would like to thank you all for your service to the community and your willingness to come out and campaign for an office that serves our children,” Harris told the board. “We appreciate your commitment to the children of our community because you all have a role to play in the future of our community.”

Harris praised King for his transparency and Johnson for the civil manner in which he conducted meetings over the past year.

Leadership is never easy, but even more difficult and thankless in the service of children, Conger added.

The JMCSS Board of Directors deserves recognition for “countless hours and service to public education in Madison County,” the proclamation reads.

In other news

Insurance reimbursed JMCSS nearly $4,000, including $3,533.68 for repairs caused by water damage at South Side High and $369.96 for field equipment stolen from central office on 27 September.

Read more: New Madison creates an environment that makes students excited to learn, to be Madison students

Lasherica Thornton is the educational reporter for the Jackson Sun. Contact her at 731-343-9133 or by email Follow her on Twitter: @LashericaT


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