Utterback announces retirement

By Deanna Wakkinen, I-O Reporter

Lynn Utterback put in an early letter of resignation at November’s school board meeting with the hopes of having plenty of time to find a replacement Superintendant.

A speaker will be present at the next board meeting to help the board in finding the best avenue in acquiring a new superintendent.

Utterback has 36 years, plus military time, in education and simply plans to try something new after retirement. His year ends June 30.

Conrad High School freshman Kristin Rossmiller, was selected to be on the first-ever State Superintendent’s Student Advisory Board. She traveled on Nov. 12 with Debbie Ostertag to Helena to discuss drop-out rates.

During the public comment section of the meeting, Mike Townsend presented his concerns on his daughter’s organization SAVE.

SAVE was started last year at Utterback Middle School and has continued on into the high school, as well as, having students from the lower levels.

Danyelle Townsend sent out a letter to businesses stating what their organization was and their goals for raising money. She mentioned the fundraisers they have coming up in the future. One line of her letter stated, “If you would be willing to donate anything to our cause, it would be greatly appreciated.”

This line, along with a reference to CHS in the end note, caused a business to call the high school and Larson to question the organization.

Larson commented that the school was unaware of the letter and that they also try not to solicit in this manner.

D. Townsend was confronted on the issue and felt that her organization was not wanted. Larson and the board confirmed that they do support the organization; however, all fundraisers and letters need to be approved by the principal and student council.

The board suggested getting a member of the staff into SAVE to help them learn the processes and to help Huffman, from HLHAS, in guiding them.

The extracurricular report had one resignation by Kendall Griggs as the Student Council advisor. Sam Videl will continue as the sole advisor for the council.

Students were recognized from the four schools. First in line was Utterback Middle School with Jeremie LaBarre presenting the awards.

The female student of the month was Taylour Russell, a member of 4-H and National Junior Honor Society. Craig Barringer, principal, commented on the great artwork that Russell has worked on recently and said, “She could have sold it for big bucks.” Carol Brownell noted that she “takes great pride in doing her best.” Taylour is the daughter of Joe and Lourdes Russell.

The male student of the month was Morgan Jones, who is also a member of NJHS. Tammy Jones acknowledged that, “Morgan has one of the best senses of humor” and that “he is confident in who he is” as well as a “great asset to our school.” Morgan is the son of Mark and Janis Jones.

Diana Agre presented Darrin Mecham as an outstanding student from Prairie View. Mecham is a fifth grader who says the person he admires most is his dad because he inspires him. He also enjoys many activities including reading and said, “Reading is a TV in my mind.” Karen Lee commented, “He is just a nice kid.”

From the high school, Videl presented, with pride, the student of the month award to Amber Stenson. He said, “I don’t have to ask her twice to do anything.” Other teachers acknowledged her, including principal, Ken Larson, who said she is “loud, proud and positive” at CHS games. Erik Gustafson simply said that she “has made CHS a better place with her presence.” Amber is the daughter of Kip and Adele Stenson.

Meadowlark’s outstanding student is Brady Bokma. Julie Orcutt presented him and said that he has an A+ attitude. Brady is son to Byron and Heather Bokma.

Transportation issues were presented by Jim Carroll who said the only issue is the retirement of Ray Moritz as soon as this week. He recommended that Amy Brown be his replacement. A retirement party was scheduled for Nov. 19 at the Moose Lodge. Moritz has worked for the school district around 39 years.

Principal reports updated all those present on the activities going on in all four schools. Meadowlark reported on Red Ribbon Week and its two successful presentations, one including a drug sniffing dog that the children got to meet.

UMS is busy with boys’ basketball starting and trips to the Boone and Crockett Ranch. Jones and the NJHS also hosted their Mix It Up at lunch event which is a national day to get kids to socialize outside their immediate group of friends. Each student drew a candy bar with a table number on it. The students then sat at that table and one teacher was also assigned to sit at each table.

Parent teacher conferences were held before the end of the trimester with hopes of meeting with parents before the grades were finalized, especially for those students who were at risk of failing.

This month, before Thanksgiving, Debby Perry will be taking 10 students to the MBI Youth Rally in Great Falls and Monica Tomayer will take a group of students to Bozeman for the State Science Olympiad competition.

Hi-Line Help for Abused Spouses will be doing three weeks of work with UMS students about bullying. Monica Huffman and Jamie Rogers will be spending every Friday in December meeting and educating students.

Prairie View boasted their job program for students, which gets students involved helping with 13 different jobs around the school. These tasks help the students to feel important and they also help take weight off the staff.

PVS Council kids are making decisions based on the classroom meetings and their input. So far they have come up with an activity day and dress up day. The usual Cat/Griz day is upon them. The students have also requested a merry-go-round on the playground and lockers for their belongings.

Project Pals are in swing and 23 CHS students come weekly to spend time with a PVS student. Fifth and sixth grade girls’ intramural basketball will start after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving break will be Nov. 24 through Nov. 26 with students returning to their normal routine on Monday.

Many activities were reported for the month of October including CHS hosting the 6C division and Northern B Divisional tournaments and the fall concert, which was packed. Larson gave kudos to Todd Truscott on the great performances.

Carroll commented that he thought “we left a good impression” on those involved in the two volleyball tournaments.

Winter sports are underway with wrestling and girls’ and boys’ basketball practice beginning.

The maintenance/custodial report shed light on the need for a light at the boiler room entrance of the CHS. A light sensor will cost between $400 and $500. The lighting in the auditorium was also repaired and is up and running for the Saxophobia concert held on Nov. 18.

The short term goal progress was reported by Carole Jones who stated that they have found a goal facilitator who will meet with her and her committee as well as come to the next board meeting. Patrick McGaughey from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, will gather for a full day and give a report and will also follow up yearly on our schools’ progress.

The next regular school board meeting is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at the Russell Building. The Russell Building is not handicapped accessible. The meeting will be moved upon request. Requests to move the meeting location should be made to the Personnel Office (278-5521) prior to the time of the next meeting.