By John Balch
The Dierks School District decided on a package deal and hired a husband and wife to fill two key personnel positions.
The board voted April 17 to hire Todd Finley as the district’s girls basketball coach, football coach and teacher and his wife, Lori Finley, as the new elementary principal.
Mr. Finley will replace Ali Whisehunt and Mrs. Finley will replace Karla Bryne, who is stepping down after 33 years with the Dierks district to accept a literacy specialist position with the De Queen-Mena Education Cooperative.
The Finleys are both graduates of Lakeside High School in Hot Springs and both received their bachelor degrees from Henderson State University. Mrs. Finley holds a master’s degree from HSU while her husband got his master’s from Arkansas State University.
Lori Finley’s work experience includes stints at Mount Ida (1995-1998), Hot Springs Middle School (1998-1999), Taylor (1999-2002), Hope (2002-2006) and again from 2006-2012 as public relations coordinator, Nevada County (2012-2105) as K-12 principal.
She is currently employed as principal of the Bald Knob Middle School.
Coach Finley’s work experience is virtually the same as his wife’s resume. He has coached at Mount Ida, Taylor, Hope and Spring Hill.
He is currently employed as head basketball and softball coach and assistant football coach at Bald Knob High School.
“I think we’ve hired some quality employees,” said incoming superintendent Jody Cowart.
In other school personnel business, the board voted to hire Cassie Kirby for sixth grade literacy and accepted the resignations of Principal Byrne and school nurse Sally Sharp. The board also voted to re-hire Janet Bobo as district treasurer as needed at the daily rate of pay “at the discretion of the superintendent.” Raisa Whisenhunt was also hired as elementary special education teacher.
The board also re-hired the following classified staff: Debra Brock, Sheila Eudy, Hannah Hawthorne, Lou Ann Huddleston, Millie Jackson, Lydia Kompkoff, Barbara Pate, Rebecca Sirmon, Vanessa Thompson, Lisa Ward, Terrie Whisenhunt, Chrissie White, Darla Wilson, Rinda Duggan, Melanie Gadbury, Cathy Gilbert, Karla Hawthrone, Sheila Jester, Frankie Stamps, Michelle Walston, Anna Willis, Michala Young, Deirdre Dove, Phil Icenhower, Greg Janes, Kristi Janes, Kayla Jones, Michele Kitchens, Bobby Neal, Greg Nuttall, Charles Shaw and Dennis Sirmon.
A one-time, non-reoccurring staff incentive bonus of $1,000 was approved for all classified and certified staff.
The board also adopted a resolution authorizing “a $120,960.00 installment purchase agreement for the purpose of financing the acquisition of computers and related equipment: designating the installment purchase agreement as a qualified tax exempt obligation; and authorizing and prescribing other matters related thereto and to employ First Security Beardsley as fiscal agent.” The agreement is for 300 desktop computers with a lifetime parts guarantee.
Improvement plans for the high school and elementary school were also approved and a floor care bid of $17,364.38 submitted by Yellow Rose Janitorial.
The board also agreed to participate in the Lockesburg Industrial Maintenance Institute and purchase a used mixer from Kenya’s Drive-In for $100.
The following student transfers were also approved:
Graisyn Roberts, Garrett Roberts, Edgar Overturf, Clayton Decesaro and Maria Overturf from De Queen School District and Jaxon Whisenhunt from Nashville School District.