Katie Peterson | Staff Writer

Bill Hatfield, Unified School District 207 talent acquisition specialist, was praised by district staff and school board members for his recruiting efforts over the past three years during the monthly board meeting Dec. 14 at the district office.


He was presented with a certificate of appreciation and a district coin.


“I’ve worked with a lot of people and Bill, as an administrator, is one that has changed all of our lives,” said Keith Mispagel, superintendent of schools. “We are better because we’ve learned from him.”


Myron Griswold, board president, said he heard great things about Hatfield before he became the talent acquisition specialist three years ago because of his previous work as assistant superintendent for the school district.


“There’s nothing more important than finding quality people,” Griswold said. “You combine the science of recruiting and talent acquisition in a way that each year keeps getting better and better.


“Thank you for your dedication, your talent and your commitment to this mission that you have,” he said. “It has benefitted this district so much.”


Hatfield said he couldn’t have chosen a better job following his retirement as the assistant superintendent.


“Recruiting here with this team and for the kids and parents here is tremendous,” Hatfield said. “It’s been an honor.”


Before the surprise recognition, Hatfield briefed board members on the recent recruiting efforts over fall, which ended with an open house Dec. 10 at Eisenhower Elementary. Ten potential candidates attended the open house, and five new elementary school teachers have been hired for the 2021-22 schoolyear.


In other news, Mispagel said the district is on track to return to on-site, in-person schooling on Jan. 11 as planned. All students have been participating in remote learning since Nov. 30 following a rise in COVID-19 cases in the area.


“This is our dedication moving forward,” Mispagel said. “The only thing that would affect it is staffing levels.


“We’re still going to move forward every day with safety at the forefront,” he said. “If it’s not safe, we’re going to make a safe and healthy decision for our staff and students, but with the protocols and science behind our setup right now…everything is in our favor to be able to be on site if done so safely.”


Mispagel said parents can help in the effort to keep staff and students safe by quarantining their children for 14 days if they traveled more than 180 miles into a high-risk county and keeping children home from school if someone in the household is awaiting COVID-19 test results or has received a positive result.


“We’ve got to remain vigilant and USD 207 has done that,” Griswold said. “I applaud the superintendent and the deputy superintendent, all the administrators and all the staff and faculty for their adherence to these rigorous standards and their adaptability.”


Finally, during the meeting, Rich Holden, chief financial officer, updated the board on the construction of the new Patton Junior High School at the old MacArthur Elementary School site and how the budget for the project is holding out. Several mockups of the exterior north, south and east sides of the buildings provided by Titan Construction were shared.


On Dec. 28, the north, east and south sides of the gym tilt-up walls will be installed.
“The gyms’ walls are built, poured and ready…to be brought up on trucks and put in place,” Holden said.


Holden said he plans to take board members on a tour through the school in January.
Board members and other essential personnel practiced social distancing and wore face coverings during the board meeting, and some participated via videoteleconference.


All board meetings are open to the public. For an overview of the meeting and the minutes, visit https://www.boarddocs.com/ks/usd207/Board.nsf/Public.
The next USD 207 board meeting is at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 25, 2021, at the board office.

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