Superintendent Starcher briefs Fort Frye BOE on first week

BEVERLY — The first week of school in the Fort Frye district went smoothly, Superintendent Stephanie Starcher told the board of education Wednesday night at its first meeting since school convened last week.

Starcher said enrollment appeared to be stable, at about 1,000 students for the district.

“The year opened great, positive,” she said. “All the teaching staff are hired, but we’re still looking for a couple of cooks and a night custodian. Those jobs are posted.”

The district was shaken by the death of physical education teacher Sonny Bidwell, who had been at Fort Frye for 34 years, she said. Bidwell, 56, died suddenly on Aug. 8. In addition to teaching physical education for kindergarten through sixth grade students, he also coached football and basketball.

Starcher said teacher Chad Ross has been transferred to the physical education position, and the district hired Katelin Wolfe to take over Ross’s former position teaching fifth and sixth grade at Lowell Elementary School.

Wolfe, a Marietta native and Otterbein College graduate, attended the board meeting Wednesday.

“Thank you for this opportunity,” she said.

Starcher said Wolfe, who was hired Friday and started teaching Monday, is credentialed in all four core subject areas.

“We’re fortunate to get such a good candidate,” board member Charles Schilling said.

Starcher advised the board that its online learning system, now called PEAK, was due for renewal this year. The cost for 20 licenses for five years, vended through the Ohio Valley Educational Service Center, totals $42,800, she said, explaining that the licensing means no more than 20 people can be logged into the system at one time. The board approved the purchase.

In other business, the board:

∫ Approved five teachers for home tutoring at a rate of $21 per hour. Starcher explained that the teachers will provide instruction to students who, for one reason or another, are unable to attend school, with one hour of home instruction equivalent to a day of school.

∫ Agreed to seek bids through Meta Solutions Cooperative Advertising for a 71-seat school bus.

∫ Set the next regular meeting for 5 p.m. Sept. 20 at Lowell Elementary School.