Posted Date: 01/22/2021
Board President Heather McAdams swears in Chris McNeil, who will serve as Board member for Zone 2. McNeil replaces Lisa Ford, who resigned December 3. McNeil will serve on the Board for the remainder of her unexpired term, which comes up for election in spring 2022.
Christopher L. McNeil Appointed New School Board Member
The Union Public Schools Board of Education appointed Christopher L. McNeil, a former Union teacher and coach, to the Board, to represent Zone 2. McNeil replaces Lisa Ford, who resigned December 3. McNeil will serve on the Board for the remainder of her unexpired term, which comes up for election in spring 2022.
According to Board President Heather McAdams, seven candidates were considered for the position, leaving the board with a difficult choice. “Ultimately, we made our decision based on who would best round out our own experience, who would bring something we don’t already have.”
McNeil and his wife, Jessica, have two children, one of whom is enrolled at a Union early childhood site. He is working on obtaining his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) from Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, with plans to graduate in May. McNeil has a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and a bachelor’s degree in biological science from OSU, as well as a minor in microbiology and psychology. He received an Albert Schweitzer Fellowship in 2017, creating a 200-hour community service project to help connect more than 61 North Tulsa high school students with jobs/permits and boost their income potential and to address economic and healthcare disparities.
While at OSU, McNeil has also volunteered with Food On The Move, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and has been active in Business and Leadership in Medicine Club, Student National Medical Association and the National Osteopathic Medical Association. He has also served as a teaching assistant for the OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine, instructor for the OSU Master of Athletic Training Program, as well as interned with OSU Center for Health Systems Innovation and as a fitness trainer for the YMCA. He served as a director of operations and mentor for East Central High School’s CIE Scholar Mentoring Program from 2012-2013.
He was named an Oklahoma Student Leadership Forum nominee in March 2020; won the Osteopathic Founder’s Foundation Leadership Award in December 2019; and was nominated as Student Doctor of the Year in March 2019.
Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler congratulates new Board member Chris McNeil with an elbow bump as Board member Ken Kinnear looks on.
Welcome to the @UnionSchools Board of Education Mr. McNeil! I had to miss the meeting because of quarantine but so excited to work with our new member. I know he has a great heart for our students! pic.twitter.com/S0K1YMrQCw— Stacey Roemerman (@StaceyRman) January 20, 2021
Board Considers 2021-2022 School Calendar
The Board of Education, on first reading, considered approval of the new 2021-2022 school calendar. The Board will consider final approval during second reading at its next meeting on February 8.
The new calendar calls for the first day of school to be Wednesday, August 18 and the last day to be May 25, 2022, with five snow days built into the calendar. If no snow days are used, the last day would be May 18. The calendar includes four virtual days in which students would complete assignments at home while teachers are in professional development. Fall Break has been shortened by one day, while students would get a full week for Thanksgiving. To view the proposed calendar, click here.
The public may share their comments and suggestions by emailing [email protected].
“In full disclosure, we had thought we could shift to distance learning days and do away with snow days,” said Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler. “However, that turned out to be extremely challenging, as far as employees getting to work safely and other issues. At the end of the day, we decided we need to reinstitute snow days in the event we have inclement weather.”
Hartzler said there will be no more “Late Start Fridays,” as the district has reconfigured them as four virtual days for students, two each semester.
Assistant Superintendent Sandi Calvin said students will have assigned work they must accomplish.
“Virtual days will take place on a Wednesday and there will not be live instruction,” said Calvin. “There may, however, be videos to watch and work to complete. Secondary students will be expected to log into Canvas and teachers will follow up on Thursday and Friday to see what’s been accomplished. Primary grades will have a different format.”
In other action, the Board:
Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler Thanks Board Members for Service
In honor of January being National School Board Appreciation Month, Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler thanked Union Board members for their “unwavering and fearless commitment.”
“We appreciate your service during these extraordinary times,” said Hartzler. “You care immensely about our students, employees and our organization. I could not be more grateful and thankful for this team. We will get through this pandemic. I’m excited about what the future holds for our innovative programs, as our students are going to benefit immensely. Our goal is to continue to be strong, as we shore up any gaps. Thank you all for being courageous and being so committed to this district. We are very thankful for each one of you.”