Instead of asking questions as usual, Centerville-Abington Community Schools board members were those being questioned during their Feb. 22 meeting.

During their visit to consider reaccrediting CACS, two evaluators from the accreditation and certification organization Cognia interviewed the board.

Ann Burns and Jennifer Horvath talked with teachers, students, administrators, parents and stakeholders; observed in classrooms; reviewed data; and considered if the district is making continuous improvement.

Board member Andy Wandersee described each building’s improvement committee as having a good mix of parents, teachers, a principal and a board member, plus an even larger districtwide committee. He said board members have had a good relationship with parents and town leaders, and welcome community feedback.

Wandersee and President Todd Duke replied that if a teacher or parent would come to them with an issue, they follow the chain of command, and agreed it’s not their job to run day-to-day operations.

Members also were asked about their motivation to hold office. Todd Dooley said he wants to maintain CACS’ good reputation. After attending a recent state training for new members, Dooley realized how many other boards and administrators don’t get along, and described CACS’ collaborative spirit.

Members agreed they offer various career expertise, ranging from manufacturing to social work, and life experiences, increasing their effectiveness. While they might disagree occasionally, there’s respect, and once a decision is made, the majority rules and they move forward united.

“You are doing what you say you’re doing, and it’s amazing,” said Jennifer Horvath, also complimenting the “great staff” and “wonderful community.” She said Superintendent Mike McCoy didn’t miss a beat while transitioning from high school principal to superintendent during the pandemic.

Ann Burns said she asked a kindergartner what could improve his school, and he said, “Nothing. It’s perfect.”

McCoy said Friday he received “amazing” preliminary results from the visit. Their main suggestion was to better document what they do so others can visit and learn from CACS. Burns referred to the line from the “Field of Dreams” movie, “If you build it, they will come,” and said she understands why people would want to come to CACS.

McCoy said over the past two decades, CACS consultant Vicki DeMao has been through 45 visits as an evaluator throughout the world, and she has never heard of a result as positive as what CACS received.

CACS will receive a final report in early April.

In other business

Bus: A vandal cut and removed an activity bus’s catalytic converter, causing about $7,000 damage. CACS sent surveillance camera footage to police.

Art: The board congratulated two Rose Hamilton students who won awards in the Whitewater Valley Art Association art competition that included work from several area schools. First grader Kalleigh Nobbe created a teddy bear and honey pot with colored pencil, and second grader Elizabeth Cox drew a giraffe and trees with marker.

Cafeteria: Two bids for a high school freezer were submitted and the lowest, $37,868.88, from Leisure Mechanical, was approved, a savings of about $7,300.

Transportation center: Foundation work started that day. The building should arrive around March 15.

Meeting change: The board’s next meeting is a day earlier (now 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 7), so members can attend the ISTAR banquet honoring seniors and their inspiring educators.

Donation: Jon and Connie Odom gave $500 to the Class of 2024 toward prom and graduation.

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A version of this article appeared in the March 1 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Millicent Martin Emery is a reporter and editor for the Western Wayne News.