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Support Staff Hired for New School Year

June 14, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Patrick Cripps has employed the support staff for the 2018-2019 school year.

The personnel report was submitted to the Board of Education during Thursday night’s regular monthly meeting

Those employed at DeKalb County High School are:
Rena Adcock, Vicky Atnip, Wanda Bradford, Kathy Chapman, Norma Dyer, Debbie Eaton, Terry Emberton, Regina Estes, Beverly Ferrell, Betty Fisk, Doris Graham, Yvonne Hale, Ester Holder, Thomas Maney, Charles Martin, Marsha Martin, Paulette McDonald, Tere Mooneyham, Sara Parker, Carol Swope, Brad Trapp, Erin Turner, Norman Underhill, Danny VanDyne, Vicky Walker, Jamie Wright, and Debbie Young.

DeKalb Middle School:
Martha Cantrell, Anita Conley, Tammy Ferrell, Trena Ferrell, Roger Gaw, Fay Gilreath, Jeremy Haas, Ginda Kilgore, Tammy Maynard, Cindy Miller, Linda Moser, Lisa Norton, David Parker, Laura Patterson, Tina Pedigo, Mary Sanders, and Ruby Thomason.

Smithville Elementary School:
Janis Barnes, Brenda Beth Cantrell, Cindi Dias, Tammy Edgar, Darlene Evans, Jennifer Gay, Betty Griffith, Margie Hale, Kayla Hale, Milinda League, Sara Lomas, Talitha Looney, Pat Milam, Eden Nokes, Holly Owens, James Owens, Cody Pack, Rebecca Parker, Rhonda Pelham, Amelia Phillips, Lori Poss, Amelia Randolph, Stephanie Reeder, Brenda Rigney, Jennifer Roller, Kathy Stanley, Beverly Starnes, Marie Storie, Mary-Margaret Tripp, Tammy Tyler, Victoria Vincent, and Celia Whaley.

Northside Elementary:
Pam Baines, Fay Baker, Rosalinda Cervantas, Debra Dunaway, Tena Edwards, Terrie Ford, Robbie Joan Frazier, Glenda Gassaway, Phyllis Hallum, Rochelle Johnson, LaTonya Kleparek, Melinda Lattimore, Lynn Pichey, Jo Dean Redmon, Teresa Steele, JoAnn Vanatta, Kim Violet, Melissa Wallace, Deneene Willingham, and Rita Young.

DeKalb West School:
Brooke Atnip, Holly Bain, Brenda Bandy, Margaret Curtis, Todd Davis, Donna Driver, Dorothy Duggin, Makenzie Dunaway, Pauline Frazier (part time), Donna Hale, Lisa Hale, Kathy Malone, Nancy Mulloy, Tina Paschal, Rhonda Patrick, Courtney Reynolds, Tonya Roberts, Stephanie Stewart, Kristi Sullivan, and Rena Willoughby.

County Wide Positions:
Chandra Adcock, Cindy Childers, Christie Colwell, Shea Colwell, Kenderly Cripps, Bettye June Dodd, Christie Driver, Wade Ferrell, Greg Frasier, LeAnne Frasier, Kim Frazier, Jordon Funk, Maria Garza, Rebecca Hawkins, Dillon Hicks, Terry Hicks, Cynthia Hill, Earl Jared, Freda Johnson, Rita Johnson, Barbara Johnson, Tammy Judkins, Jenean Lawson, Patricia Linder, Debbie London, Deborah Magness, Shirley Mathis, April Odom, Shirley Ours, Natasha Pedigo, Danny Pirtle, Jr., Melissa Pirtle, Kayla Randolph, Jo Dean Redmon, Roger Sharp, Merilynda Sibert, Kimberly Turner, Jamie Vickers, Judy Wiggins, Joannie Williams, and Aaron Young.

Michael Agee, Danny Bond, Josh Brown, Dwayne Cantrell, Shannon Cantrell, Justin Coats, Shara Cowan, Cathy Driver, Suzanne Dunn, Debbie Eaton, Marshall Ferrell, Julie Fitts, Lorie Gallagher, Terry Hall, Darnette Hibdon, Melissa Hicks, Kathy Jacobs, Danny Jenkins, Janie Johnson, Dwight Knowles, Frances Lawson, Daniel Lawson, Donnie Lewis, Roy Merriman, Ronald Merriman, Linda Gail Pack, Tony Poss, Jimmy Poss, Ashley Redmon, Myron Rhody, Jimmy Sprague, Robert Steinmetz, Carol Swope, Ken Taylor, Bobby Taylor, Juanita Thomas, B.J. Thomason, Danny Washer, and Angela Wilkerson.

Education Celebration Scheduled for July 27

June 14, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

The Annual First Day of School Education Celebration for DeKalb County will be held on Friday, July 27 starting at 6:00 p.m. downtown around the courthouse square.

This year’s event is being held a few days prior to the actual first day of school. Registration for students will be Wednesday, August 1 and the first full day of classes is set for Thursday, August 2.

Anyone planning to set up a booth for the Education Celebration this year is asked to wait until after 1 p.m. that day, Friday July 27 because early voting for the August elections will be held from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-Kindergarten to 6th Grade, said the event is free and all parents and students are urged to attend to help kick off the new school year. “Our goal is to provide an evening of activities, education, and enjoyment for the residents of DeKalb County. We will be having information booths, passing out school supplies, refreshments, and various activities for the students to participate in while promoting education.”

“This will also provide a time for our teachers and parents to come together to build a foundation for new and positive relationships, right from day one,” said Burklow

“Our First Day of School Celebration is an opportunity for our schools to take a leadership role in re-enforcing and improving relationships among parents, teachers, students, and the community. This is the one day each year when it is both easiest and most important to enlist families as partners in our children’s education. This is a great time for us to engage our families and make them feel welcome into our schools.”

“So come out and join us. Everything is free that evening. We’ll have free school supplies, free food, snacks and lots of community people coming together to make this event possible”, said Burklow.

“There are many volunteers, churches, and organizations that come together to make this event possible for our children so they are able to start school with new supplies and a great positive attitude.”

If you would like to help with this event please call Michelle Burklow at 615- 597-4084. Volunteers are needed.

This celebration is totally free of charge to those who attend so make plans now to join the fun downtown Smithville on Friday, July 27 starting at 6:00 p.m.

Blue Blaze Award Winner Michael Cleveland to Perform at Fiddlers Jamboree (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

June 14, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

Award-winning fiddle player Michael Cleveland has been named the 2018 Blue Blaze Award Winner for the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival. This most recent honor will be added to a rather impressive collection of accolades among his musical peers.

Cleveland has won more IBMA awards than any other fiddle player including 10 wins for Fiddle Player of the Year, six wins for Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year, and fronts their 5-time Instrumental Group of the Year. On March 30th, Michael was inducted into the National Fiddler Hall of Fame in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Together with Flamekeeper members Josh Richards (guitar), Nathan Livers (mandolin), Jasiah Shrode (banjo) and Tyler Griffith (bass), Cleveland makes his way around the country performing and delighting audiences, while leaving them with jaws dropped in complete amazement.

Cleveland will be accepting the Blue Blaze Award on Saturday, July 7th, 2018 during the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival at 5pm followed by a mini-concert by Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper.

“Michael Cleveland embodies what we look for in a musician when choosing a recipient for the Blue Blaze Award,” said Sam Stout, President and Coordinator of the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree & Crafts Festival, “He started performing at the Jamboree as a young boy, and grew his talent to an impressive career in bluegrass music. The purpose of the Blue Blaze Award is to recognize a group or individual who keeps the embers of bluegrass music glowing for future generations. Michael Cleveland certainly does that, and more. He is an inspiration to all of us. We invite the public to come out and support Michael, while enjoying the best that bluegrass has to offer.”

Cleveland has a very loyal fan base, along with an amazing story. Michael was born blind, along with many additional health complications. He has endured over 20 reconstructive surgeries including brain
surgery. In addition to these challenges, he lost 80% of his hearing in his left ear. But Michael Cleveland is not a ‘glass half empty’ kind of guy. He prefers to focus on his goals, his love of music, and being the best in his field. Although only in his mid-30’s, Michael Cleveland, a 2018 Grammy Nominee, has reached plenty of those goals.

Cleveland began his love affair with music by taking violin lessons at only four years old. This passion for the stringed instrument led him to bluegrass music. His teachers quickly labeled him a musical prodigy. “When I started taking lessons at age 4,” he remembers, “I told the teacher right up front that I wanted to learn how to play bluegrass and I wanted to play ‘Orange Blossom Special.'” Reluctant as they were, his teachers quickly found reason to his rhyme, helping him progress to the point when, at age 9, Michael was invited to sit in with the legendary Bill Monroe at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival. During this time, he visited the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and competed alongside fiddle players of all ages and skill levels. Soon after, he brought his virtuosic style to the Grand Ole Opry as a guest of Alison Kraus, and was hand-picked for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Bluegrass Youth All Stars before he was 14. His blistering prowess and technical fluency have since marked him as a sought-after musician, leading to performances with Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Tim O’Brien, J.D. Crowe and the New South, Andy Statman, and The Kruger Brothers in recent years. However, it wasn’t until 2006, when Michael formed his own band Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, that he found the right vehicle for his musical vision, and he hasn’t rested since, constantly looking for new ways to push himself and his music forward.

One would think that with all of his life-long accolades, his own award-winning band, a concert tour, and celebrity performances at the Opry, that Cleveland would have no more goals to shoot for…but we know him better than that. ‘Flamekeeper – The Michael Cleveland Story’ is a feature length documentary film coming in 2018. To follow Michael Cleveland’s journey, go to or follow his facebook page.

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