OCS Celebrates Retirees

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BY KENDYL HOLLINGSWORTH

KENDYLH@OPELIKAOBSERVER.COM

OPELIKA —

As the 2021-22 school year draws to a close, the Opelika City Schools Board of Education celebrated a slew of students and faculty May 24 at Jeter Primary School.

The board meeting was the last for Superintendent Dr. Mark Neighbors, who announced his retirement in January. He will be succeeded by Dr. Farrell Seymore, who is wrapping up his time as Opelika High School principal to fill his new position.

Assistant Superintendent of Administration Kenneth Burton is also retiring and will be succeeded by Tiffany Yelder.

The board recognized Neighbors, Burton and several other retiring faculty members in a ceremony prior to the regular meeting.

During the regular meeting, the board presented awards to students in the following categories:

• 2022 state superintendent’s Visual Art winners

• 2022 girls’ track team – AHSAA 6A Outdoor Track and Field

•  2022 Opelika High School Wrestling

• 2021-2022 State Trumbauer Theatre Competition

• 2022 National Merit finalist

• 2022 career tech awards for HOSA and FBLA

• 2022 Opelika High School Culinary

• 2022 Opelika Middle School Robotics (CyberDawgs)

• 2022 Opelika High School Robotics (O.G.R.E.)

Students smiled as they accepted certificates and plaques from Neighbors for their achievements during the school year.

“I hope you can see from this that we’ve got a place for every child—no matter what their uniqueness—to fit in,” Neighbors told the crowd in attendance. “That is what we’re here to do every day.”

OTHER BUSINESS

The board also approved the following items:

• Personnel recommendations acknowledging employment, transfers, retirements and resignations

• A contract for Kelli Fischer, the newly hired OHS principal

• Tiffany Yelder, the new assistant superintendent of administration

• A memorandum of understanding for the School Resource Officer Program between Opelika City Schools and the City of Opelika, which also allows the city to apply for a grant to support the program

• A bid for HVAC renovation for Southview Primary School to Bradley Plumbing and Heating Inc. in the amount of $2,550,750

• A bid for exterior paint and touchups for West Forest Intermediate School to Frazier Painting in the amount of $36,000

• A statutory warranty deed between OCS and the City of Opelika for the sale of property on Gateway Drive adjacent to Southview Primary, allowing the city to build a new fire and rescue station

• A memorandum from Burton requesting an increase in fees for extended day services from $40 to $45 per week (with a discount for parents who have more than one child in the program) and a pay increase for the extended day lead teachers and care providers ranging from $10.15 to $14 (up from $7.65 to $12.24) to take effect this fall

• An out-of-state field trip request for OHS FBLA to attend the FBLA national competition June 28 through July 3 this year

The board also opened the floor for nominations for its chairman and vice chairman, but the consensus was to continue unchanged with J. Kevin Royal as chairman and Antione Harvis as vice chairman.

Burton and Neighbors expressed their gratitude to the board and the school system.

Seymore also voiced his appreciation to Burton and Neighbors, as well as his excitement to work with the board.

“My first administrator job was working for Mr. Burton,” Seymore said. “To have the opportunity to follow these two gentlemen … they’ve had a huge impact in my life both personally and professionally, so I look forward to working with [the board], but I mean it when I say this—that they have been wonderful examples and wonderful mentors to me, and still are.”

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