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District Four School Board member Marjorie Hughes (right) presents Ginger Meriwether with the Parent of the Year Award.
Staff Writer

   The Grenada School Board on Tuesday recognized the parent of the year and voted to start accepting bids on cleaning up a decrepit property.
   The board recognized Ginger Meriwether as the 2013 Parent of the Year.
   Meriwether is the mother of a second grader at Grenada Elementary. She is an associate degree nursing instructor at Holmes Community College.
   Meriwether serves as president of PALS, or Parents and LEAP Supporters. LEAP, or Learning Enrichment and Progress, is a program for gifted students.
   “Ginger shows genuine concern and care for the development of our district,” said Superintendent Dr. David Daigneault. “She puts the best interests of students first. She works tirelessly on our fundraisers and various other activities.”

Decrepit property
   The board voted unanimously to  begin accepting bids on cleaning up the old Willia Wilson school site.
   The building and grounds are located on Telegraph St., near the ICS HeadStart.
   Daigneault told the board that the buildings have asbestos in the window putty, under the floor tiles and in the mastic behind the blackboards. The asbestos will have to be removed.
   After the asbestos has been taken out, the district will consider demolishing the structures, Daigneault said.
   “It’s in deplorable condition,” said Daigneault. “It looks bad in that area and you hear all kinds of stories about the buildings being a magnet for crime.”
New SROs
   The district has hired two, new student resource officers.
   Officer Eric Williams comes to the GSD after serving 12 years with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department. He’ll help protect the campuses at Grenada’s elementary schools.
   Officer Stephen Whaley previously worked for the Grenada Police Department. He’ll patrol Grenada High School, Grenada Middle School and the Vo-tech Center.
   “They’re armed guards, and their duties will include assisting with traffic, doing perimeter checks, monitoring visitors and assisting with our metal detectors,” said Security Director Benji Britt. “These officers will be highly visible, and we hope their presence will assure parents and the wider community that we’re taking steps to make our campuses secure.”
   The addition of Williams and Whaley brings the total number of security officers patrolling GSD campuses to eight.

New building
   A local benefactor is paying to construct a new utility building for the Grenada football program.
   According to Daigneault, a local business owner, who wished to remain anonymous, is picking up the check for a 20-by-30 ft. building to be constructed on the old practice field.
   “We’re very grateful for this individual’s generosity and we’re confident the football team will get a lot of good use out of the building,” said Daigneault.

Superintendent’s evaluation
   The board gave Daigneault a stellar review on its official evaluation.
   The state legislature mandates that school boards evaluate their superintendents each year. The Mississippi School Boards Association produces the document that boards follow.
   According to District One Board Member and Interim Board President Tim LeClair, Daigneault scored highly in all categories.
   The board considered a number of Daigneault’s accomplishments, LeClair said, including his being named superintendent of the year by the Mississippi Association of School Administrators.
   Since Daigneault took office in 2007, Grenada’s dropout rate has decreased by 17 percent, and the completion rate, which includes students who earned GEDs, has increased by 23 percent. Grenada’s graduation rate has increased by 21 percent during Daigneault’s tenure, and for the first time Grenada High School this year was designated as High Performing according to standardized test scores.
   “The board had nothing but good things to say about David,” said LeClair. “This man is a great leader. His performance has been exemplary, and he’s served this district with excellence beyond anything I’ve ever seen. We’re lucky to have him.”

For the full story, see the printed or the online edition of the GrenadaStar.

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