Butterfield Trail Middle School Teacher Ashleigh Gillespie was recognized Tuesday by the Van Buren School District Board of Education.
Gillespie, a third-year teacher, was honored for successfully completing an advanced course at the Annenberg-Newseum Summer Teacher Institute in Washington. D.C.
According to the Newseum website, this is a free professional development workshop in which teachers are taught how to incorporate technology and social media into their classes to create a more thorough learning experience for their students.
Gillespie was one of the 24 accepted for the workshop. More than 400 applied.
She told the board she has implemented what she learned at the workshop into her classroom studies and has linked through Twitter with teachers from all across the United States.
Dr. Harold Jeffcoat, superintendent since July 1, noted he followed Gillespie on Twitter before he came to Van Buren.
On a 7-0 vote, the board adopted the 2015-16 budget which includes $62,781,895 in revenues and $55,738,936 in expenditures.
"This is a very good budget for our growing and healthy school district, Jeffcoat noted.
He pointed out overall expenditures for salaries and benefits declined $322,000 from last year. This, he said, was accomplished by not filling positions vacated by teachers who moved on to other positions or retired.
Nearly 80 percent of the school budget goes toward salaries and benefits.
Other aspects of the budget that the board addressed included free and reduced lunches for qualifying families, after-school programs and the purchase of buses that Jeffcoat described as necessary.
The board approved:
• A software purchase of $22,275 for Butterfield Trail Middle School.
• A technology purchase of $38,613.92 for the Special Education Department.
• The hiring of Gary Bowen as a trip bus driver for the remainder of the 2015-16 school year and Charles Cameron as a bus driver, effective Sept. 9.
• The resignation of Bobby Robinson as Little League director, effective Dec. 31, Michael Whalen as ROTC instructor, effective Oct. 1, and Sam Gonzagowski and Jim Watson as bus drivers.