TOP PHOTO: Sharon Ridenour (left), a retired career educator and veteran member of the Campbell County Board of Education was elected as chairman of the board on Tuesday evening. Director of Schools Jennifer Fields is on the right.

JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – Women are now leading Campbell County Board of Education meetings. See the full meeting HERE on demand from WLAF.

Despite losing one female board member when Faye Heatherly retired, the board unanimously elected Sharon Ridenour as the new chair and Lisa Fields as the vice chair. Outgoing chairman Johnny Byrge announced at the onset of the meeting that he preferred to share board leadership with other members and would not accept another term a chairman.

Fields then nominated Ridenour. With no other nominations offered, Ridenour was elected unanimously. Steve Morgan then nominated Fields for vice chair, and she was likewise elected by an unanimous vote.

The board then allowed various speakers to address the meeting. Joshua Madsen was the first to speak, unloading his displeasure with the way his complaints from two months ago had gone unanswered. Madsen had accused Principal Danny Sheckles of harassing his elementary school daughter, who is now being home schooled.

Campbell County Sheriff’s Deputies were forced to remove Joshua Madsen from Tuesday’s Board of Education meeting after Madsen refused to leave after his allotted time to address the board had expired.

Madsen called for Sheckles to be terminated from his position and accused Director Jennifer Fields of failing her responsibilities. When his five minutes expired, Madsen continued to complain after Ridenour called him to sit down numerous times. Finally, two deputies were forced to escort the struggling parent from the meeting.

Zeb Proctor urged the school system to take stronger measures to ensure school security, including the arming of any qualified and trained teachers. Gale Stanley introduced the board to non-profit Postmark LaFollette’s program to introduce middle school students to local Campbell County history, from prehistoric indigenous tribes to the present day.

Stanley exhibited one of a set of twelve panels that Postmark LaFollette has prepared to present local history, aimed at students in grades 6-8. Three sets of the panels will be moved around to the various county schools.

In her remarks, Fields thanked Proctor for his concern with school safety and reported to the board on progress that has been made on security measures. She pointed out that all schools in the county now have cameras and soon will have full time SRO officers once they have completed their training program.

Every school now has a counselor available to work with troubled students and numerous other security measures have been implemented, Fields said. She then announced that board member Crystal Creekmore is absent due to health reasons and has back surgery scheduled on Sept. 19. Creekmore will also miss the October meeting.

The board also approved the addition of a full-time kindergarten teacher at Caryville Elementary and a pre-K teacher at Valley View. The additions are needed because enrollment at both schools exceeded predictions for this year.

Finally, the board voted to invite bids on several infrastructure projects, including a new metal roof at the LaFollette Middle School field house, replacement of the shingle roof at White Oak, work on several parking lots and the purchase of a mini hydraulic excavator for the maintenance department. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 09/14/2022-6AM)

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