Pelham BOE renews employment contract with Superintendent Ledbetter

Published 5:55 pm Wednesday, May 8, 2024

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By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – Heartfelt comments, compliments and congratulations were in abundance during a regularly scheduled meeting of the Pelham City Schools Board of Education as the board addressed retirements, promotions and contract extensions on Tuesday, April 30.

In total, the board addressed a total of 29 personnel adjustments that primarily consisted of retirements from some of the most recognized faces in PCS.

Among the staff members included on the list was that of Pelham City Schools’ Chief Academic Officer Shannon Bogert, who drew particular comment and praise from Superintendent Chuck Ledbetter.

“I’ve been able to work with her closely for the last two years and she has been phenomenal,” Ledbetter said. “We are very sorry to see her retire but we are really excited to hear that she is going to continue to work with us part time.”

Ledbetter further spoke on how Bogert worked to help create Pelham’s virtual school program, which offers unique and individualized schooling for kids that have trouble finding success in a traditional school environment and need alternative routes for achievement.

“Her heart is there (in that program) and she is going to continue to work with us there in a part time capacity,” Ledbetter said. “We hate to see her go, but I want to say how much we appreciate how much she has done for us and what she will do for us in the future.”

Multiple members of the board, who also made comment on Bogert’s commitment to her role and to PCS as a whole, congratulated her on achieving retirement while also expressing thankfulness that she would continue to be a presence within the school system.

Ledbetter also announced at the meeting that Pelham Ridge Assistant Principal Khadidr Jones would be recommended for promotion to principal of the school following the retirement of current Principal Lisa Baxter.

“I knew going into this process of looking for a new principal that Mrs. Jones was going to be very difficult to beat,” Ledbetter said. “She was the standard and someone was going to have to beat her. I have seen her work for two years and I have seen the work that she does. To me, that means more than the actual interview—and she had done the work. You can see that she knows so well all of the work she has been doing.”

Jones’ new position was made official when the recommendation for her promotion, the retirements and other personnel adjustments were unanimously approved in a single motion by the board.

Other staff at PCS that have announced their retirements, and were among those included were:

  •  Amy Moore at Pelham Park Middle School
  •  Virginia Fleming at Pelham Park Middle School
  •  Ria Brooks at Pelham Ridge Elementary
  •  Jennifer Gray at Pelham High School
  •  Alisa Creel at Pelham High School
  •  Kim Harrison at Pelham High School
  •  Doug Allen at Pelham High School
  •  Ginger Aaron Brush at Pelham Oaks Elementary

“Retirement is the ultimate goal for all of us and I am so proud for each of you,” said Angie Hester, board president. “There will be a big hole missing from a lot of these (educators) that aren’t coming back part time, but I truly wish them nothing but many blessings in their next adventures.”

Following the approval of the adjustments, the board also addressed two items of new business by approving the purchase and installation of lockers from BSN Sports for the volleyball, wrestling, cheer and basketball locker rooms at Pelham High School in the amount of $147,987.47 and approving the creation of a new student assistant position for the 21st Century Program’s Summer Camp.

Among the biggest decisions of the night came toward the meeting’s conclusion when the board also unanimously elected to extend the employment agreement of Superintendent Ledbetter in a revised agreement that will extend his time as PCS superintendent for another three years with an option for extension at the conclusion of that three-year period.

“I’ve been on the board for a year now,” board member Jeff Adams said. “Dr. Ledbetter’s availability when needed has been invaluable, and we appreciate his efforts.”

Speaking in response to his renewal, Ledbetter put the focus on the board, staff and educators within PCS and described how he would move forward throughout the next period.

“One of the things a lot of boards don’t do is plan for the succession in leadership,” Ledbetter said. “I want to make sure that I do my job now and, when the time comes, that we have a smooth succession of leadership so that we don’t have pendulum swings in what is happening within our school system. Part of my job as I see it—in this new contract, is to continue to build to capacity in our school system for continued leadership that is headed in the same direction. I always believe that if I walk out and get hit by a bus tomorrow, that the work should continue because we are all on the same page. It is not about me.”

To close out the meeting, Assistant Superintendent Floyd Collins delivered remarks on a number of ongoing construction and renovation projects at Pelham’s schools.

Those projects included the nearing completion of Pelham Oaks’ canopy project and Pelham High School’s culinary arts area and roofing projects now being underway with plans for them to worked on through the summer break. The high school was also announced to have received its new band chairs ahead of schedule and the new Pelham Ridge Elementary camera installations had been completed.

Collins further announced that new areas for bus parking had been completed at Pelham Park Middle School.

Also announced at the meeting was that the Pelham BOE will convene for a special called board meeting on Wednesday, May 15, at 6:30 p.m. at Pelham Park Middle School and will hold the next regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Pelham City Schools central office.