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Poteau Schools back to drawing board in hiring new Superintendent

Posted Date: 03/10/2023

Poteau Schools back to drawing board in hiring new Superintendent

Poteau Schools back to drawing board in hiring new Superintendent

  • By David Seeley

It was discovered during Monday night's Poteau Public Schools Board of Education meeting at the Bert Corr Administrative Building that the individual the board hired as the new district's superintendent, Aaron Espolt, has withdrawn himself from taking the post.

Poteau School Board President Ranada Adams told members of the media that he needed to withdraw from what would have been his new job in the district so that he can stay closer to family in the Shawnee area. In fact, Espolt recently was hired as the new Shawnee Public Schools superintendent.

Adams said the district just now re-opened the position for soliciting resumes.

In other matters, the board, after about a 35-minute executive session, tabled taking in action on re-hiring PHS Principal Joe Ballard, but there was one board member — Earl Jobe — who did not vote in favor of tabling the matter, while the other board members did so. His re-hiring also was tabled during the February board meeting.

However, the board did approve the resignations of PHS teacher Jami Hackler and Spanish teacher Victoria Fisher.

The board tabled taking any action in approving the 2023-24 school calendar. The biggest hang-up seemed to deal with the amount of instructional days, which this year for the district is at 175. There was one calendar that had a 170-instructional day set-up and a second one with 165.

Board member Phil McGehee said he is not in favor of cutting instructional days, while fellow board member Ron Hall would like to compare test scores from other schools to help make the decision about how many instructional days to put in place. Hall also was totally against the 165-instructional day calendar. Assistant Superintendent Diane Tillery said "we are not lowering standards" when it comes to determining the amount of instructional days.

The board also tabled amending the potential changes to the social media policy so it can be worded more succinctly. Poteau Schools Interim Superintendent Dr. John Turner said the initial changes made the policy more clear and more specific as to how handle issues, which were initially drawn up by the Oklahoma State School Boards Association (OSSBA). The biggest concerns were about no clear guideline(s) to handle making on-the-site social media posts, while Adams' major concern was about making sure making positive posts about students' achievements were able to be made.


The board approved a contract worth $9,350 with enkins and Kemper to do the 2022-23 school audit as well as approved a $40,964.61 contract with Municipal Accounting Systems (MAS) for things like financial, personnel, treasurer, activity fund and student information software lease.

The board approved moving the site of the monthly meetings to the Bob Lee Kidd Civic Performing Arts Center once it's ready to be made available for use. Poteau Schools Director of Operations Devin Cochran said that it was discovered that there needed to be an additional ceiling sprinkler behind the stage to made the facility up to code.


Adams is the one who favored putting the item on the agenda because she said she thinks the BLK will afford better seating capacity than the Bert Corr Administrative Building.

The board approved both the activity fund transfers as well as the activity fundraisers for the rest of the school year.

Cochran also mentioned during the superintendent's report that the Costner Stadium scoreboard is up, and that on Tuesday the structural engineer is slated to come to install the video elements of the scoreboard.


Source: Poteau Daily News