May 20, 2022

May 2022 School Board Meeting

PC: Karen Banks

The regular meeting of the Yancey County Board of Education was held in the auditorium of Mountain Heritage High School on Monday, May 16, 2022, with an agenda filled with good news and student, staff, and program recognitions.

Needs-Based School Construction Grant Awards

In the Work Session portion of the meeting, Superintendent Kathy Amos discussed the recent awarding of $6.6 million dollars to Yancey County Schools for renovations to South Toe Elementary and East Yancey Middle Schools. Amos stated that the Request for Qualifications for architectural services for these projects have been released and are due on June 9, 2022, by 2:00 p.m. Amos added that the previously submitted applications for Cane River Middle, Burnsville Elementary, Blue Ridge Elementary, and Mountain Heritage High School will remain in the selection pool for future awardings of these grant funds.

Academic Competition Funding

Amos reported that YCS currently allocates $1,500 to each middle school and $3,000 to the high school specifically for academic competitions. Amos requested and the Board unanimously approved that beginning with next school year, each elementary school be allocated $500 each, the middle schools be increased to $2,500, and the high school to $5,000, to help cover the costs of registration fees and travel expenses for student academic competitions.


In the opening of the Regular Meeting, Mountain Heritage High School JROTC Cadets Pedro Hernandez, Courtney Dalton, Lisa Mathis, and Kristen McMahan, Commanded by Aaron Willis with alternate Kyle Putnam, Presented the Colors with Board Member Cody Whitson leading in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Good News

Superintendent Amos, Assistant Superintendent Heather Cox, Elementary Curriculum Director Andrea Allen, and School Board Members recognized the follow groups, teams, and individual students for recent competitions and achievements:

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

Aspen Elliott - Accepted to Attend Durham Campus

Lilly Fender - Accepted to Attend Online Program

London Seven Skinner - Accepted to Attend Morganton Campus

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Summer 2022 Camp Attendees

Naomi Anglin - Forensics Investigation Course

Elliana Anglin - Robotics and Engineering Course

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Students in the Mountain Heritage High School SkillsUSA team and Advisor Kim Higgins, who received the first Glenn Barefoot Outstanding Leadership Award, were recognized individually and received certificates of recognition from the School Board.

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Future Business Leaders of America

FBLA students from Cane River, East Yancey and Mountain Heritage were recognized individually and received certificates of recognition from the School Board.

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Western Highlands Middle School Conference Champions

Coaches Wade Shehan & Randy Sellers introduced members of the East Yancey Middle School Boys Basketball Team who earned the title of 2022 Western Highlands Middle School Conference & Tournament Champions.

Coaches Erika Tyner and Tressa Hartsell introduced members of the East Yancey Middle School Boys Soccer Team who earned the title of 2022 Conference Champions.

Coach Joey Dahlberg introduced members of the East Yancey Middle School Girls Soccer Team who earned the title of 2022 Conference Champions.

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Western Highlands Conference Champions

The following MHHS track athletes, under Coach Jered Pope, were recognized for placing at regional competitions and advancing to state competitions at a later date:

Colby Capps - Most Outstanding in Field Events, 1st Place in Long Jump, Pole Vault, & 300 Hurdles

Jesse Shelton - All Conference, 1st Place in Shot Put with a new school record of 162’4”

Lilly Neill - 2nd Place in Shot Put

Adam Ledford - 3rd Place High Jump

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Cougar Softball

Coaches Rose Cummings, Jimmy Joe Thomas, Mike Osada, and Will Hensley introduced members of the Lady Cougar Softball Team who earned the title of 2022 Western Highlands Conference Champions, the first team to achieve this since ladies fast-pitch softball began at the high school level.
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Cougar Ladies Basketball

Coach Susie Shelton introduced members of the Lady Cougar Basketball Team who earned the titles of 2022 Western Highlands Conference and Tournament Champions.
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CTE Program

Director Cynthia Deyton presented the 2022 - 2024 Career and Technical Education Plan which included a review of performance measure data and goals for the upcoming plan cycle. Deyton also discussed the much-anticipated expansions in the construction area of the program and adding Introduction to Heavy Equipment Operator and Electrical Trades pathways for students. Deyton reported that applications for grant funding for these expansions have been submitted and she is awaiting award notification that would allow plans to move forward with adding an addition to the existing Mike Orr Building This expansion would house heavy equipment simulators as well as equipment that would be used for student instruction and certification processes. Through partnerships with Dogwood Health, French Broad Electric, Young-McQueen, and Carolina CAT, this addition to the CTE program at Mountain Heritage High School would provide students with opportunities they have never had at the high school level. The Board members voted unanimously to approve the 2023 CTE Local Application and CTE Plans.

School Safety

School Board Vice Chairman Wade Dahlberg reported that recent events have revealed areas for improvement district-wide regarding school safety. Specifically, the need for a School Resource Officer at each school. Dahlberg stated that as Assistant Superintendent Heather Cox applies for a renewal of the SRO funding and is asking for additional positions, the school system is prepared to partner with the Sheriff’s Office and fund one-half of two more SRO positions, which would provide one SRO for each school in the county. Cox will report to the Board when she receives word on her grant funding of positions.

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Personal Finances Course

Assistant Superintendent and High School Curriculum Director Heather Cox discussed changes to the Social Studies Curriculum at the high school. Cox explained that with the merging of American History 1 and 2 into a single semester course, Economics & Personal Finances has now become a required course in the social studies curriculum. “Students are given practical financial management skills including information on credit reports, credit cards, car loans, mortgage loans and different financial systems. These are real-life skills that will benefit our students in everyday life,” Cox stated.

Presentation on Scholarship Process

MHHS Counselor Samantha McClure presented a slideshow on the year-long process of helping seniors and their families navigate the process of understanding scholarship and FAFSA applications. Rising seniors receive their first email from McClure in July to complete their self-assessment form then holds meetings throughout the year for seniors and their parents in addition to the one-on-one senior sit-downs to help students through their final year in high school and plans for their future.

Student Signing Day

Chairman Edwin Fortner announced a new event that will take place in May, 2023, to celebrate MHHS seniors as they make commitments to their futures. “Student Signing Day” will be held on May 5, 2023, from 8:30 - 10:30 in the gymnasium of Mountain Heritage High School. Seniors will be recognized who have made commitments to the workforce, 2 year schools, 4 year schools, military, and athletics.

Athletic Funding

Amos announced that effective July 1, 2022, athletic allotments will be as follows: Travel for MHHS - $30,000; Equipment for Various Sports for Cane River and East Yancey - $10,000; Capital funds for MHHS - $15,000; and Local Supply/Equipment for MHHS - $15,000. Amos stated, “We support our student academic and athletic programs. Our student athletes bring great pride and spirit to our community. We thank you for representing our community well on and off the field.”

School-Based Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy

Associate Therapist Landon Beaver requested Board approval to introduce his trained, miniature horse for therapy services to middle and high school students. Interaction with a miniature horse has proven effective in lowering anxiety, reduces loneliness, and increases mental stimulation with increased interaction. Being a new therapy, and possibly unheard of by many, this type of treatment has been a part of state policy for quite some time and does have guidelines in place that will be followed. After discussion with Attorney Donny Laws who suggested Finance Officer Kimberly P. Bennett to confirm liability clarification, the Board approved the request by Beaver to introduce his miniature horse Aiofe (pronounced eefa) to students with equine therapy beginning next school year.

The next regular scheduled school board meeting will be held on June, 20, 2022 at the County Office.

The work session will begin at 5:30 pm with the regular meeting beginning at 6:00 pm.