Board honors retiring principal

The Moore County School Board began its Monday, June 8 meeting by recognizing a departing employee. Nora McNeill, who started teaching at Sandhills Farm Life Elementary in 1983, is retiring. The school’s principal since 1995, McNeill was praised by district officials for her commitment and years of service.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve seen an individual be at one school for that long,” Dr. Robert Grimesey, superintendent of schools for Moore County, said. “We need a room full of people standing and cheering for her, but we’ll do our best today.”

Due to COVID-19, the board met remotely. 

Following an introduction by Grimesey, a short video paying tribute to McNeill was shown.

Board member Stacey Caldwell thanked McNeill for helping her get started in the district.

“She hired me as a sub for someone who was on maternity leave,” Caldwell said. “I owe her pretty much my career (with the school district).”

Following approval of the consent agenda, Grimesey gave an update regarding district management of the coronavirus situation. Receiving guidance from the state level is key in the process.

“We have to work within the parameters that are established by the state,” he said.

“It’s our hope that by July 13, when you reconvene as a board, that we’ll be able to lay out most if not all of what the plan will be for the opening of schools.”

In early May, a district reentry team was formed. As for summer school, it will only be offered, virtually, to high school students. In-person camps – planned for June – have been cancelled.

Every district in the state must submit a remote learning plan for the upcoming school year to relevant North Carolina departments by July 20. The plan will be shared with the school board at some point in the future. Submitted plans won’t be approved or denied, but the state will offer support and advice.

Summer workshops for teachers, in Moore County, will continue. Because learning happens in small groups, it meets requirements.

High school sports will not resume until approved by the district.

The school year is slated to start August 17. A variety of formats are being weighed in terms of learning.

It was noted that barriers have been constructed in schools to prevent transmission of the virus. Boxes of face coverings and gloves are also available. 

The nutrition program will continue through the month of June. To date, according to John Birath, the executive officer for operations, more than 87,000 meals have been distributed across the county.

Renewal bid awards relative to milk, produce and ice cream, for the 2020-21 academic year, have been communicated to vendors.

File photo: Retiring Principal Nora McNeill is honored June 1 at Sandhills Farm Life Elementary School with a draped surprise monument nearby. Photo by Sandhills Sentinel Photographer Stephanie M. Sellers.

~Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Dave Lukow.

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