Alabaster BOE hires child nutrition director

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Alabaster Board of Education voted unanimously during its March 11 meeting to hire the current Shelby County Schools child nutrition program supervisor to serve as the director of Alabaster’s child nutrition program.

During the meeting, the board voted 4-0 to hire Shelby County Schools CNP Supervisor Heather McDermott to head the Alabaster school system’s child nutrition program beginning April 1.

Alabaster School Board President Melanie Shores was absent from the meeting.

“We continue to move forward with filling slots,” Alabaster Interim Superintendent Dr. Phillip Hammonds said after the hire. “We appreciate the interest that is being shown in our board.”

The hire came about a month after the Alabaster School Board voted to approve the child nutrition program supervisor job description. As head of the Alabaster school system’s child nutrition program, McDermott will be in charge of coordinating the system’s cafeteria offerings, ensuring meals meet nutritional guidelines and more.

Before coming to the Shelby County School System, McDermott worked with the Alabama Department of Education, where she provided assistance and training to Alabama schools participating in the National School Lunch and Breakfast program.

McDermott also has been named a school nutrition specialist by the School Nutrition Association.

In other business, the School Board:

-Voted unanimously to approve an Alabaster Board of Education code of conduct. Hammonds said the code of conduct is a requirement of the School Board Governance Improvement Act passed by the Alabama Legislature in 2012, and said all Alabama school boards are required to enact codes of conduct by April 1.

The three-page Alabaster School Board code of conduct requires school board members, among other things, to “make decisions on policy matters only after full consideration at public board meetings,” to take actions beneficial to the “educational welfare of all students attending system schools” and to act on independent judgment rather than the opinions of “individuals or special interest groups.”

-Voted to authorize the school system’s superintendent to make purchases of up to $10,000 without prior board approval, so long as the expense falls within budgetary restraints and appears on district financial reports.

-Voted to use Alexander and Company to provide optional benefits for Alabaster school system employees during the system’s first year of operation. Alexander and Company currently works with the Shelby County School System to provide optional benefits to employees, such as vision insurance and short-term disability.

The company will begin working with the Alabaster school system beginning July 1.

“The more we can do to make this a seamless process (for employees), the better,” Hammonds said.

-Heard from Alabaster YMCA Executive Director Rhonda Elmore, who encouraged the School Board to consider partnering with the YMCA to offer after-school activities.