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Photo by Crystal Hayduk. Kimmy Conn, new fourth grade teacher at South Meadows Elementary School.

By Crystal Hayduk

The Chelsea School District Board of Education heard a special presentation from Brad Bush, athletic director, at its meeting on Nov. 13. Bush proposed that the varsity baseball field be commemorated in honor of former athletic director Wayne Welton.

Bush provided a lengthy description of Welton’s accomplishments, both locally and statewide. Welton was the head baseball coach for the Chelsea School District for 32 years; 22 of those years he also served as athletic director. Among other honors, he was named Regional Coach of the Year eight times, was president of the Michigan High School Baseball Coaches Association for three years, and president of the Southeastern Conference for 12 years. He received the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Allen Bush Award in 2006, and the Michigan Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association’s Jack Johnson Service Award in 2017.

Bush shared a number of quotes about Welton, including one from Jeremy Stephens, a 1991 graduate: “Coach Welton helped create a foundation for all of our lives. There is no way I could ever give back to him what he gave to myself and my teammates. I owe to him lessons that I use every day to be the best husband, father, and citizen that I can be.”

Bush said that the commemoration would be made by adding to the sign on the baseball field’s scoreboard, naming it “Wayne R. Welton Field.” The cost of $700-$800 would not be covered by the district, per the district’s guidelines.

Board members, with the exception of Tammy Lehman who was absent, debated the merits of facility commemoration versus a centralized “Hall of Fame.”

The board is expected to vote on the proposal at its next meeting.

South Meadows Elementary School Principal Stacie Battaglia introduced the district’s latest teacher hire to the board. Kimberly “Kimmy” Conn grew up in Ann Arbor and graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2013 with a degree in elementary and early childhood education. Since graduation, she’s taught in the Saline School District. Her references describe her as “hard working, competent, and sincere.”

In other board news:

  • Superintendent Julie Helber thanked the community for the support of the special education millage on Election Day last week. This allows the district to receive reimbursement for 100 percent of the costs associated with special education.
  • Helber congratulated Rick Boham and the transportation department for receiving a certificate of excellence for their 100 percent passing rate on recent bus inspections.
  • The district received an “Additional Instruction Time” grant of more than $31,000. According to Marcus Kaemming, executive director of instruction, curriculum and human resources, who applied for the grant, the money will be used to train literacy coaches and support student learning as a result of the Third Grade Retention Bill, which was signed by Governor Rick Snyder in October. More information on the bill is available at https://mea.org/learn-whats-in-the-new-third-grade-reading-law/.
  • Student liaisons to the board, Patrick Bertoni and Jacqueline Taylor, said they plan to implement strategies to inform students about their role with the board. They will also meet monthly with Principal Mike Kapolka to communicate students’ concerns to the district.
  • The school board commended Pat Clark for 50 years of service to the district (including 47 years as the girls cross country coach) and for being named Regional Coach of the Year; and Eric Swager, boys cross country coach, for the team’s Division 2 state championship.

Upcoming dates:

  • Nov. 21 is the end of the first trimester; half-day for students.
  • There will be no school Nov. 22-24.
  • The next regular school board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 27 in the board room at the Washington Street Education Center.
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