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Bellevue Continues Principal Searches, Sees Results of First Drug-Testing

Deneen Zimmerman has been interim principal at Bellevue High school for a couple of months, after David Eckstein retired for health reasons. The district is currently conducting a search for a new principal for both the high school and for Grandview Elementary, since Dr. Jennifer Cox resigned to take another position within the district. 
Superintendent Robb Smith said they have had a great response to the search, and hope to have new principals in place by March. Deneen Zimmerman is also in charge of District Academic Services, and Janis Winbigler, who is interim principal for Grandview, is also over the District Support Services.
Tara Wittrock, District Special Populations, was excited to announce to the school board that the Grandview Elementary Preschool now has a five star rating, making it only one of twelve five star preschools in the area, joining Covington Independent and Campbell County Schools. Wittrock only found out about the news just before the monthly school board meeting.
She also announced that they received a $15,000 grant to redo one of the rooms in the school, to completely outfit the small room with new furniture and toys and equipment for the littlest students. The grant was from the School Readiness Summit.
Director of Operations Jim Hicks announced that the drug testing for sports is going well. In the first round of testing, 102 students were tested and three came back non-negative, meaning they were on prescription drugs. In the second round 27 were tested and only one came back positive. Hicks said that he thought one in 129 was good.
"The drug testing is doing what we were hoping it would do," he said.
Interim principal Zimmerman announced Wednesday night that the school's softball team will split $15,000 worth of equipment with Dayton, Newport, Holmes, and Holy Cross, which she found out when representatives of the high school attended a luncheon held at Town and County restaurant in Wilder.
"I was told that some of those bats cost like $300 to $500, so I am very impressed that we received this award," said Zimmerman. "We were able to see Tucker Barnhart, the Reds' catcher, and the whole thing was such a great experience."
The equipment gift is from a collaboration of St. Elizabeth and the Reds Community Fund which strives to help baseball and softball programs within the urban core of Northern Kentucky. 
St Elizabeth put up $7,500 to match that from the Reds' Community Fund, and Pitch in for Baseball, a nonprofit organization which collects and repurposes baseball and softball equipment, will coordinate the distribution of the $15,000 worth of equipment to the five high schools.
The school board members chose a new chair, replacing Julia Fischer who has been the chair for the last year. Jenny Hazeres will now be the Chair, and the vice chair will be Dan Sparks, who held the position previously. The board chose Hazeres to be the board member on the calendar committee, and voted Chris Groneck to be the board member on the Code of Conduct committee.
On the recommendation of Superintendent Smith, the board accepted next school year's starting date to be Wednesday, August 16, 2017, and the ending date to be Thursday, May 24, 2018. 
In honor of School Board recognition month, Superintendent Smith gave each of the board members a present.
Zimmerman also acknowledged the award given to Laura Rittinger for being an NAACP Partner which she received earlier in the month.
Students from both schools were honored for discipline and attendance: Conner Graham, Ava Vaught, Gracie Riggs, Ian Babin, Taytem Sorrell, Kaylah Searp, and Lewis Coppage received the award for Grandview Elementary; Assistant Principal Dave Pelgen said the staff picked the middle and high school students from among those who had perfect attendance and no disciplinary referrals. Those students were Tyler Southwick, Cameron  Williams, Carl Murphy, Gavin Lay, Autumn Ryan, Hayley Schweinzger, and Kristin Fischer.
Written by Patricia A. Scheyer
Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Superintendent Robb Smith passes out presents to the school board in honor of National School Board Recognition month.