Members of the Van Buren School Board unanimously approved a pay increase for Superintendent Dr. Harold Jeffcoat, who took over as school district superintendent July 1, 2015, after serving as deputy superintendent in Cabot since 2012.

Members of the school board voted Feb. 14 to extend Jeffcoat’s contract through July 30, 2020, at a salary of $165,000 a year.

On Tuesday, board member Kevin Bell recommended a pay increase to $190,000 a year, effective July 1. The vote was 7-0.

“Dr. Jeffcoat has done an unbelievable job with the district,” Bell said. “He has cut costs and saved us a ton of money the past two years.”

It is anticipated the school district will have a carryover of about $4.9 million when fiscal year ends June 30, including a previous transfer of $600,000 to the building fund.

Bell pointed out Jeffcoat was the driving force behind a successful millage increase last September.

“In the opinion of the board, the millage was overwhelming approved by the voters because of his leadership,” Bell said.

Because of the millage increase, Bell said the district has been able to increase salaries for both teachers and staff.

“We had 23 teachers leave last year because of low pay,” Bell said. “We have only had three leave this year for more money.”

Jeffcoat said he was very humbled by the kind words and the show of support by our school board.

“We have worked together as a team over the last couple of years and have seen many successes,” Jeffcoat said. “It’s an honor to serve as superintendent of such a fine school district.”

He said he is extremely appreciative of the district’s outstanding faculty and staff.

“My success as a leader is a direct result of their hard work and commitment to our students,” Jeffcoat said. “Thanks to them, Van Buren continues to be recognized for excellence in education.”

Principal Dr. Karen Endel reported to the board on Butterfield Trail Middle School’s recognition by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Department.

BTMS was named the recipient of ASCD’s 2017 Vision in Action: The Whole Child Award. The prestigious honor was announced at ASCD Empower17: The Conference for Every Educator, in Anaheim, Calif., on March 25.

“This is about the whole school coming together to nurture our children,” Endel said.

Butterfield teachers also demonstrated to board members how local schools are using Goggle Expedition goggles and Oculus Rift to teach students through entertainment and take them places they might not ordinarily experience.

The board also:

• Employed the following certified personnel: Katherine Cervantes as classroom teacher at Van Buren High School; Kendra Cottrell as speech language pathologist; Kelly Hayes as classroom teacher, Van Buren High School; and Courtney Moore as classroom teacher, Freshman Academy, all effective Aug. 7.

• Transferred Dana Goodman as a classroom teacher from Northridge Middle School to River Valley Virtual Academy, effective Aug. 7.

• Accepted the resignation of the following certified personnel: Rhonda Ballinger as classroom teacher, Van Buren High School; Tammy Gardner as dance coach, Freshman Academy; Janice Lawson as classroom teacher, Van Buren High School; Marti Salisbury as classroom teacher, Parkview Elementary School; and Terry Whitledge as classroom teacher.

• Approved the resignation of the following classified personnel: Rosa Estrada as migrant tutor, Butterfield Trail Middle School; Brian Franklin as bus driver; Tamera Inge as special education aide, Van Buren High School; Summer Shook as secondary administrative assistant, Van Buren High School; Barbara Blevins as cook, City Heights Elementary School; Carrie Clark as bus driver; Mary Curd as registrar/study hall supervisor, Freshman Academy; Sheila Huffstetler as elementary administrative assistant, City Heights Elementary School; and Jamie Nordbrock as cook, Central Elementary School.

• Terminated Lewis Harris as a bus driver, effective March 27.