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Talk about a commitment to excellence.
During its regular school board meeting on Thursday, Mountain Home Public Schools took a moment to recognize former MHPS School Board member Neal Pendergrass for being the recipient of the Arkansas School Board Association’s President’s Award.
Mr. Pendergrass received the award in Dec. for completing over 500 hours of board member training. School board members are required to complete a minimum of six hours of training each year.
Mr. Pendergrass served on MHPS’s school board for 24 years before retiring last year.
“Thank you for everything you did for our district and the extra that you did,” said MHPS Superintendent Allyson Dewey.
Mr. Pendergrass began his service on the board in 1999 and completed his sixth consecutive term before retiring last year.
During his time on the board, Mr. Pendergrass saw major shifts in education as he helped oversee the start-up of the district’s various academies, its improvements in alternative learning and the addition of new programs like the district’s Aviation Program and Bomb Squad.
Both of Mr. Pendergrass’s sons are graduates of the school district.
During his time on the board, he served as president twice, while also serving on the ASBA’s Board of Directors. He served one term as ASBA President.
Following his recognition, Mr. Pendergrass praised the school board for their hard work while also recognizing his replacement, Mr. Scott Booth.
“I’ve seen you in closed session and I know how much you care about the school, and I know how much you care about the staff. And the way you care about the students, which is of course number one. Thank you so much, and I leave you in good hands, I think,” Pendergrass said.
After Pendergrass’s recognition, Superintendent Dewey took a moment to recognize the rest of the school board in honor of School Board Appreciation Month. She thanked them for all of their hard work before reading a proclamation recognizing school board members by Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Mountain Home High School Principal Mary Beth Russell presented the school board with a 3D-printed trophy from students at the high school. Mrs. Russell said that most of the schools’ trophies were now being 3D printed by students, allowing the high school to save money throughout the year.
Mrs. Russell also showed the school board a 3D printing project from one high school student that has solved replacement issues with the district’s calculators. She said that upwards of 50 calculators were missing the plastic backings that hold in their batteries, prompting Mrs. Kathy Wham, MHHS’s Algebra II teacher, to ask students for a solution.
That solution came in the form of a 3D-printed backing, saving the district money on calculator replacements.
Following Mrs. Russell’s presentation, the board recognized Mr. Bill Wehmeyer for his 14 years of service on the MHPS’ School Board.
Mr. Wehmeyer is retiring from the school board this year.
“I know we went through a lot of stuff lately; Neal knows it too. We’ve been bashed for stuff we’ve done and tried to do. I think all we ever wanted to do was best for the kids and our school, and the employees,” said Wehmeyer. “I appreciate it, it’s been a learning experience and it’s just time for me to move on. I’m not dedicating the time I need to do and there’s other people out there that will.”
Mr. Wehmeyer’s seat is currently being contested for by longtime Mountain Home resident Mollie Morgan and Marion County resident Russell Luder.