School board hands out honors 

Webster Parish School Board Superintendent Johnny Rowland reads from the resolution supporting teacher pay raises.

Seven parish school system members were honored Monday when the Webster Parish School Board handed out parish-wide recipients of principal, teacher and support staffer of the year awards for 2021-22.

Principals of the year were Michelle Finley, E.S. Richardson Elementary; Bewanichi Sheppard, Webster Jr. High and Rebecca Wilson, Minden High. Receiving honors as teachers of the year were Carita Elkins, E.S. Richardson Elementary; Rachel White, Lakeside Jr/Sr High and Macy Garner, North Webster High.

Sharon Rhymes, secretary at North Webster Upper Elementary, was named support staffer of the year. In addition to the parish winners, individual schools named their teachers of the year.

Also claiming a parish honor was Ursula Hullaby, Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Coordinator. Hullaby was named the parish’s Employee of the Month.

School board members showed their support for proposed state pay raises for teachers and school support staff Monday by adopting a resolution calling on the state legislature to “…take all necessary actions in the 2022 regular legislative session…” to approve passage of the raises.

Superintendent Johnny Rowland, reading from the resolution, noted the state is experiencing a teacher shortage and “…Webster school system has numerous vacancies; and increasing teacher pay will help Webster school system recruit and retain additional teachers and school support staff.”

In its resolution, the school board asks the legislature to finance pay raises through the state and that funds for the raises be guaranteed in the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP). Through the MFP, the state annually adopts a formula that will equitably allocate money to school districts for educational purposes. 

In other action at Monday’s meeting, board members authorized the superintendent to sign required insurance forms and approved funding for school system employees to attend the national “Get Your Teach On” conference in Florida.

A number of expenditures from various school board tax and maintenance funds also received approval, and 18 school buses were declared surplus to be sold through public auction.