, 2014

Northumberland celebrates
being among Virginia’s 36 fully
accredited school systems

by Renss Greene

LOTTSBURG—The Northumberland County School Board meeting on Monday, October 14, had a celebratory atmosphere.

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Sitting by a cake and backed up by balloons, school superintendent Dr. Rebecca Gates reported to the school board that all of Northumberland’s schools are fully accredited. The announcement was met with applause.

“In case some of you haven’t heard, there’s 132 school systems in the state of Virginia,” Dr. Gates said. “Only 36 are fully accredited, and Northumberland is one of them.”

Following Dr. Gates’ announcement, the school board presented Queen Jordan, widow of former school administrator John Jordan, a plaque bearing a resolution of appreciation for Mr. Jordan’s years of service. Jordan became well-known in the Northumberland school system for his work as a teacher, principal, and dropout coordinator.

Mrs. Jordan was joined by members of her community and church as she accepted the plaque from board chair Betty Christopher. Mr. Jordan died in September.

Martha Hicks, coordinator of Northumberland’s special programs and the “I’m Determined” project, and special education teacher Patti Packett presented the I’m Determined program to the school board. Hicks described it as a “self-determination” program for special needs students. The program aims to encourage students to express their needs to educators and empower them to succeed in the classroom and after graduation.

Northumberland Elementary School parent Meredith Pearson spoke to the school board during the public comment period to commend the staff of NES on their handling of the mentally ill man escorted from NES last month. Pearson said she happened to be near the office during the incident. Although the man was taken away voluntarily, Pearson says she saw staff “using their bodies as barricades” in case the situation became violent.

“It is very rare that I personally witness the level of dedication and care for my children’s safety that I witnessed that day,” Pearson said. “These people would have, very easily could have, taken bullets for my children.”

Dr. Gates presented members of the school board and board clerk Lois Gilbert awards from the Virginia School Boards Association for their “commitment to effective school board governance” in Northumberland. After reading aloud and presenting plaques to each member, Dr. Gates asked for a help with the last plaque, which was to Dr. Gates herself.

“Can I get someone to present me to me?” she asked quietly, prompting laughter. Christopher took the plaque, read it aloud, and handed it back to Dr. Gates.

The board also approved expenditures to send NHS dance team seniors Lauren Self and Katie Crowther to participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

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