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Monroe School Board: April 30, 2014
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MONROE - On Monday, the Monroe school board:

• Recognized Larry Eakins for his 30 years as a school board member. Eakins has provided a "voice of reason" on the board and "we will miss him immensely," said Superintendent Cory Hirsbrunner. Eakins saw many changes in public education over the past three decades, giving the board a sense of perspective, and his "experience will be sorely missed," said board president Bob Erb. Eakins said one of the best things the board has done over the years was institute a monthly recognition night at board meetings, such as the one Monday, to honor students and staff. The recognition helps get people to attend school board meetings, he said, as evidenced by the standing-room-only crowd attending Monday. Eakins was presented with a clock from the district and received a standing ovation from the audience.

• Honored Nancy Boyle, an educational assistant at Northside Elementary School, with the Monroe Lamp of Learning Staff Excellence Award. Boyle has been with the district for 25 years and was selected for her dedication and compassion toward students and serving as a role model for staff.

• Heard a report from Monroe High School Financial Literacy students on spring activities. The students competed in the Financial Literacy Challenge Bowl at Edgewood College in Madison, placing in the top four out of 24 teams. Students also participated in a Forensic Accounting competition, scoring second of 22 teams for their presentation on a real-life embezzlement case at Koss Corp. in Milwaukee. Over spring break, students also visited Colony Brands, Baraboo Candy Company and Culver's headquarters.

• Swore in board members Brian Keith, Michael Boehme and Jim Plourde. Keith and Boehme were re-elected in the April 1 election; Plourde was the third highest vote-getter, beating out Eakins.

• Elected officers for the coming year. Erb will remain as president, and Scott Schmidt continues as vice-president. Keith will replace Eakins as treasurer. Amy Bazley was re-elected clerk and Boehme will continue as deputy clerk.

• Approved the retirement of Pat Manion, art teacher at Abraham Lincoln Accelerated Learning Academy, after 40 years with the district, and the resignations of Monroe High School English teacher Melissa Sunstrom and Abe Lincoln first-grade teacher Sharon Reese. All are effective at the end of the school year.

• Hired new staff to fill vacancies: Jennifer Newcomer, speech language pathologist; Brent Niemeier, special education teacher at Abe Lincoln; Tami Schoaf, special education teacher at Northside; Emily Rubrich, MHS math teacher; and Claire Whitty, third-grade teacher at Northside.

• Accepted a donation of $3,000 from the John Dahmen Memorial to the MHS softball program for banners and equipment; $1,500 from the Monroe Optimist Club to the MHS Financial Literacy program to purchase a quiz bowl buzzer; and $1,500 from the Optimists to the Monroe Middle School Project World Class to bring Darius Weems to MMS and MHS. Weems has muscular dystrophy and makes appearances to raise money for research into the disease.

• Approved the DuPoint Pioneer CASE teacher scholarship for Jennifer Russell. The grant for $5,000 includes $2,500 for teacher professional development and $2,500 for supplies and equipment.

• Appointed Nicole Cummings to the Monroe Public Library board to replace Cyle Berndt.