Magdalena School Board renews Super’s contract

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The Magdalena School Board Monday night renewed Superintendent Mike Chamber's contract for two more years.

The decision came after the board met in executive session.

School Board President Kelby Stephens said he thought the board made the right decision.

"Its a good thing," Stephens said. "I can't think of a more dedicated superintendent anywhere in the state when it comes to what he does for the students and to prepare the teachers on what to expect on whatever changes come down."

He said last year there were 23 superintendent openings statewide.

"We've had him for a long time and trust him for what he does for Magdalena Schools," Stephens said.

Chambers began his tenure as Magdalena's superintendent in 2005. He said he was appreciative of the board's vote of confidence.

"My contract would've been done at the end of this year, and I appreciate that they voted to extend the contract for an additional two years."

Going into his 10th year, Chambers is part of a select few of school superintendents that have kept their positions for more than a three or four years.

"I'm fortunate to have been here as long as I have, given the turnover rate in this state," he said. "I think I am in the upper 10 percent of folks who have been in this position for a long time."

"We've enjoyed our time here. My own kids are very active and involved, and they like it here." Chambers said. "I am appreciative of the support from the board."

He said the biggest challenge is trying to balance the initiative the state has for student achievement with the required evaluation plans for teachers.

"It's a pretty stressful time right now," Chambers said. "People in education are really feeling pressure, and this goes for both the state and national levels."

It all comes down to having the best place for kids to go to school, he said.

"We want to see the students learn. "I don't think we can afford to lose sight of what we're here for, the kids," he said. "Sometimes it gets a little uncomfortable, but the end result is worth it if it accomplishes a better educated student."

He said he was proud that the teaching staff at Magdalena Schools was "pretty stable. There's not a lot of turnover," he said.

"I think we have a good mix of veteran teachers and a few coming in from elsewhere," Chambers said.

He said another goal in the coming year is to have the school's well go on line and getting off the village water system. The plan, which was laid out last summer, is in the works.

"It's a way lot longer process than we first believed, but it's moving along," he said. "The design is finished, and we have submitted it to the state. It was originally a well for irrigation only, so we had to put in an application to convert it to consumer use."

He said the well is capable of producing 200 gallons a minute, more than any of the three village wells.

"We've done a complete set of drinking water tests, and right now we are waiting for the State Engineer and Environmental Department to give us the go ahead."

Once finished, the school's water source could conceivably be a back up for the village in case of another water crisis.

The next Magdalena School Board meeting will be Monday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. in the schools' library.