It was a busy Monday night in Berea as teachers, students, parents and administrators welcomed the newest “pirate” to captain Berea Community Schools.

Diane Hatchett, who currently serves as principal of Hancock County Middle School, will be filling the superintendent position left vacant by the retirement of current Superintendent Mike Hogg.

Hatchett spent the day touring the schools and meeting with several teachers and student groups to learn more about her future home, an experience Hatchett said Monday night was “very eye-opening and rewarding.”

“I have received such a warm welcome and I’m very excited to build on these relationships,” the educator said.

Hatchett greeted community members and the families of her future pupils during a special meet-and-greet event Monday evening at Berea Community School’s atrium.

Hatchett, with her signature upbeat attitude, told those gathered that she is excited to learn more about Berea and what makes it such a unique and thriving environment for learning.

Hatchett signed her contract at the Berea Board of Education’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting. She will begin her tenure at Berea in mid-December.

In a unanimous decision by the Berea Board of Education, Hatchett was chosen as Hogg’s successor out of a pool of 16 total applicants and three candidates who were chosen as finalists for the position.

Hatchett’s mother, along with her mentor Owens Saylor, a recently retired superintendent and Berea native whom she spent much time with during her service as a Minority Superintendent Fellow in the Daviess County School system, also were at Monday’s event.

Board member Jackie Burnside said many people seemed excited to meet Hatchett and that she saw many smiles.

“I’m glad so many people came to meet Dr. Hatchett. It was nice to have such a warm welcome for her,” Burnside said.

Board Chair Van Gravitt said, while he is saddened by the retirement of Hogg, he is very excited about the future of Berea Community under Hatchett’s leadership.

“The reception was a really good way to introduce the community to her and I think she is going to do very well for us,” Gravitt said.

Board attorney receives recognition

The board honored Guy Colson, longtime board attorney for Berea Independent School System, with a resolution for his more than 30 years of service to the school system.

Board members also presented Colson with a commemorative plaque and the conference room at the Berea Board of Education office will now bear his name.

Board member Linda Wagers said Colson was “well-deserving” of the resolution and thanked him for his many years of service.

Colson said he was shocked by the resolution and thanked the board for the honor.

“I have loved representing this school system,” Colson said Monday. “This board is just all about the kids. So many other boards get distracted with politics, but this board and this staff is not one of them. They are truly here to help the community’s kids.”

Colson said he was amazed that 30 years had already passed and said the honor bestowed upon him meant more than the board would ever know.

“I can’t tell you what this means to me and my family,” Colson told board members. “It has been my honor to serve this board and I thank you.”

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In other business, the board:

• Heard a financial audit report from Tom Sparks, CPA for Summers, McCrary & Sparks, P.S.C., in which no disparities were found. Sparks praised the school’s financials and its ability to correct past mistakes.

• Approved a pay application in the amount of $217,232.62 for a completed construction project as well as approved direct purchase orders, which totaled $83,532.53.

• Approved a Child Nutrition Program Procurement Plan which brought the school system back in compliance with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child Nutrition Program regulations.

• Approved the creation of an ad hoc committee comprised of teachers, administrators parents and a board member with the charge of recommending a staffing policy to the Berea Board of Education by June 1. Hogg told board members that the current staff Berea uses was formed nearly 13 years ago and was in need of an update.

Reach Ricki Barker at 624-6611; follow her on Twitter @RickiBReports.

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