BOE celebrates Armstead, welcomes Murdock

Demopolis City Schools Superintendent Dr. Al Griffin presents outgoing board of education member Bobby Armstead with a plaque and other items to commemorate his 10 years of service to the BOE.

The Demopolis City Schools Board of Education held its regularly-scheduled meeting Monday, bidding farewell to outgoing board member Bobby Armstead and welcoming Conrad Murdock in the process.

“I’ve been on this board 10 years and I’ve worked with some outstanding individuals,” Armstead told the DCS board after receiving a plaque and other tokens of appreciation from the entity. “I want you to know I appreciate each of you working with me, having your own opinions and still being able to come together for what is best for Demopolis City Schools System.”

The task of helping direct Demopolis City Schools will, for at least the next five years, fall on Murdock, who attended his first meeting as a member of the school system’s governing body Monday.

“I’ve known Mr. Armstead all my life. I’ve heard a lot of good things about him and the things that he has done as far as the school board and the city are concerned and, of course, I have some big shoes to fill,” Murdock said of the challenge that awaits him.

Murdock received the appointment to the board at the Oct. 4 meeting of the Demopolis City Council, bringing to an end a near six-month period of deliberation regarding the fulfillment of Armstead’s expired seat.

Murdock, whose daughter Aaliyah is a third grader in the city school system, said he never wavered in his desire to be a part of the DCS board.

Incoming Demopolis City Schools Board of Education member Conrad Murdock takes the initiatory oath from Gina Johnston Monday.

“This is something I really wanted to stay with. My heart is here in Demopolis City Schools. I’m excited about getting started and just diving in,” Murdock said. “I actually had a chance to go over to U.S. Jones (Elementary) School on last Thursday and have lunch with (Demopolis City Schools Superintendent Dr. A Griffin.) He brought me up to speed on some of the things that were going on with the school system, the activities, day-to-day functions and some of the test scores and was really impressed. I’m just looking forward to working with Demopolis City Schools, serving the kids and the school system as best that I possibly can. My main objective and goal is to address the needs of the school system and work from there.”

DCS BOE meeting recap

Business covered during the meeting included the signing of five proclamations – one for each DCS campus and another for the central office – in observation of American Education Week, which is Nov. 11-17.

The biggest task tackled by the board Monday involved the conditional approval of a heating, ventilation and air conditioning project at the Demopolis Middle School gymnasium. The board voted to approve the effort pending the availability of the necessary funds to undergo the endeavor. The HVAC project would result in the installation of heating and air conditioning at the Demopolis Middle School gymnasium, a project similar to the one completed just a few weeks ago at U.S. Jones Elementary School.

“I’ve been here over two years and that was one of my favorite days, I’ll be honest,” Griffin told the board of the day the HVAC project was completed at U.S. Jones, a statement that pointed directly to the impact the project had on the student body of the school. “I can’t wait to get it at the middle school.”

The board approved for coaching supplements to be made available to an assistant track coach and an assistant middle school basketball coach. The BOE also vote for the approval of several out-of-state and overnight field trips for DECA and the Demopolis High School softball team, among others.

The board also voted to allow Demopolis Middle School students to dismiss at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30 in view of allowing them to attend the PTA Fall Festival.

• Westside Elementary School principal Tony Pittman reported more than 240 parents were in attendance at a recent informational meeting. Representatives from the Demopolis Fire Department will be at Westside Wednesday, Oct. 18 to discuss fire prevention. The WES Fall Festival is scheduled for Oct. 23 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The school will have its formative assessments Oct. 22-26.

• U.S. Jones Elementary School principal Dr. Tony Speegle informed the board that fourth grade students will travel to the water festival at the University of West Alabama Oct. 23. The school will hold parent-teacher conferences Oct. 25 from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, fifth grade students will spend the morning at the Theo Ratliff Activity Center to participate in the Halloween Career Fair, an event in which students come dressed in the manor of their chosen profession while local professionals present information regarding their careers.

• Demopolis Middle School principal Blaine Hathcock informed the board that DMS students with unblemished attendance records through the first 50 days of school will attend a luau at the Demopolis Civic Center Nov. 8. The school will hold parent-teacher conferences Oct. 25 and its Fall Festival Oct. 30.

• Demopolis High School principal Leon Clark provided a recap of Homecoming week and the recent Marengo County College Fair, which took place at DHS. The River City Blue Marching Band will head to Walker County for a band competition this Saturday. The Powder Puff championship game between the Seniors and Freshmen will be Thursday evening. The DHS theater group will be performing Usher Nov. 14-18.