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Simcox represents rural schools to state

By Meg Dickens
Staff Writer

The Johnson County School Board announced another prestigious committee selection for Johnson County Schools. State officials chose Director of Schools Mischelle Simcox to speak to the Tennessee General Assembly’s House and Senate Education Committee about recent education legislative bills. Johnson County is one of a small group throughout the state given a voice in this conversation with Cabinet members.

“It was a great honor to be chosen by the Commission of Education to speak to our representatives on matters that impact our students and employees,” Simcox told The Tomahawk.

“She was selected to serve on a committee by the Commissioner, out of a few directors across the state to talk to the Education Committee,” explained Elementary and Federal Programs Supervisor Angie Wills. “I feel like that really speaks well. She represents our district well, and it’s a good thing for our community that they are hearing what the needs are for rural school systems.”

According to Simcox, the conversation focused on four main topics that will dominate the special session the week of this publication: learning loss, accountability, teacher pay, and literacy. From her report, educators paid through BEP (Basic Education Program) funds may have a two percent pay increase as soon as July 1. Officials say they may backdate this raise to cover the previous months in 2021.

The state is sponsoring a two-week summer school for students from kindergarten to eighth grade to combat learning loss caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding this summer school frees up ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) funding for local schools. Officials are considering using these funds to help with student internet access. Simcox explained that other schools used ESSER 1 funds to equip school buses with a portable wireless infrastructure.

“Once again, Johnson County is getting recognized,” said Chairman Howard Carlton. “I just wanted to make sure that everyone heard that because I think that’s a great honor. Dr. Simcox was able to give some valuable input to the House Education Committee as they go into this special session.”

The Johnson County School Board meets at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month at Central Office. The public is welcome to either come to meetings, watch live as the meeting streams on the Johnson County Schools TN Video Youtube channel, or watch the video archives.