School Board Honors Clack
School board members delivered an emotional, seemingly heartfelt tribute to one of their own Monday as board member Lorna Clack stepped down after many years of service.
The event took place as a part of the board's regular monthly meeting held in Carthage. Clack's family members, friends and supporters were in the audience to hear her peers give individual testimonies to Clack's influence, both as a board member and in other aspects of education. In her 30-year career as an educator, the Carthage resident has served as a teacher, a principal, and as an administrator, and was a school board member for six years.
Superintendent Aaron Spence presented Clack with a plaque and a bouquet of flowers.
"I know you will all join me in thanking her for her service," he said to a standing ovation from the audience. "It has been my true privilege to work with you."
Board Chairwoman Kathy Farren opened the floor to comments from fellow board members.
"Moore County is a better place because of you," Board member Bruce Cunningham told Clack, who stood at the podium for the presentation.
"You are the consummate teacher and educator, and and it has been a pleasure to serve with you."
Board member Laura Lang recalled the first meeting she attended as a newly elected official.
"I had the good fortune to sit beside you that first evening, and you told me what not to say, since I have a habit sometimes of speaking before I think," Lang said. "Your knowledge of everything related to the school system is extraordinary, and and you are a terrific leader, a terrific woman, and a great example for us all."
Other board members echoed similar sentiments.
Clack then addressed the assembly, her sense of humor intact.
"I need a diet Pepsi, or some type of drink," she said as the audience erupted in laughter.
Clack related her first teaching experience at age 20.
"Back when the earth was cooling I got a job," she said. "I was at school at 7 a.m., and on my first day an old fashioned farm truck pulled up and a boy and his two sisters got out. They were all in the sixth grade, and he was 15 years old. Every day is different in the world of education."
Clack urged Moore County's educators to trumpet the system's accolades a bit louder than they do at present.
"Moore County has a reputation for quality education," she said. "We have more readers than ever in the county, and we have more high school graduates than we ever have before. But sometimes we don't sing our song as much as we ought to."
Clack concluded by thanking everyone for coming to honor her at her final board meeting.
"It's been a magical life all the way," she said.
In other news, Tony Tuso, chief officer for Technology Services, gave a presentation on the school system's evolving technology plans.
"Here is a brief overview of where we've been, where we are and where our vision is going," Tuso said.
"Over the last several years we have seen smart boards added to the majority of classrooms in our district, and through 'Race to the Top' monies we have saturated the district with wireless internet access to prepare for mobile computing and online testing. We are a 'bring your own device' district, and students can have filtered Internet connections on any campus with their own mobile devices."
Tuso said that IT personnel are "creating a technology committee of teachers and administrators" to come up with a standard for what technology should be in a classroom at each grade level.
"Two important phases we currently have are a one to one laptop initiative at Pinckney Academy
and a one to one iPad initiative at Carthage Elementary," he said.
"The Pinckney and Carthage schools were chosen because they are close to the IT department," Tuso said. "These pilots will give our technology department a better understanding on how we can manage mobile devices for all students. We are excited to get our students ready for their future."
Board members then viewed a video taken in classrooms at the Mooresville school system to show how a one to one program of full digital conversion was initiated there.
"Dr. Spence has put together a trip to Mooresville for December that includes some board members," he said. "We are very excited as we get ready for the future."
Farren congratulated the IT department for their work, while urging officials to better spread the word on the "bring your own device" option at area schools.
"I've told students about this and their reaction has been, 'Really?'," Farren said. "We need to get the word out better to teachers and principals so that the students will know what they can and cannot do in this regard."
The board gave unanimous approval to several motions, including a resolution to urge Congress to stop "sequestration," a situation described by Spence as "a fiscal cliff where Congress and the president can't reach a budget deal" that would reduce teacher salaries.
"The immediate impact would be a two percent decrease in pay should this take effect," he said.
The board also gave approval to an amended budget resolution and quarterly financial update, the 2013-2014 budget calendar, and the 2013-2014 school calendars.
The board meets again on Dec. 3.
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