FOGCE Federal Credit Union holds Annual Meeting

The Federation of Greene County Employees (FOGCE) Federal Credit Union held its 44th Annual Meeting on December 19, 2019 in the recently dedicated Willie Carpenter Conference Room in the credit union offices at 112 Prairie Avenue, on the Courthouse Square in Eutaw, Alabama.
Joyce Pham, Credit Union Manager announced that as of December 31, 2018, the FOGCE Federal Credit Union had assets of $1,314, 887, which included $896,874 of member’s shares, a $100,000 non-member deposit and the rest in reserves and undivided earnings. She reported a surplus of $10,076 in income over expenses for the year.
She reported that the credit union had $466,544 in outstanding loans to members, $111,867 in cash, $31,000 invested in its building and the rest invested in other credit unions. She indicated that the credit union had 896 members.
Rodney Pham, speaking for the Credit Committee stated that the credit union had made 449 new loans in 2018 for $338,675 including five car loans for $105,535.
He said the credit union has a variety of loans, from small unsecured loans up to $500, larger loans for home repair, appliances, school expenses and other personal loans, as well as car loans for new and used cars.
Carol Zippert, President of the FOGCE FCU reported on the history of the credit union movement and the specific growth of the local credit union since 1975. “We are saving and borrowing each others money. In one of the smallest, poorest counties in Alabama, we have accumulated over $1.3 million by working collectively together. In 44 years, we have grown the credit union to over a million in assets and moved from rented rooms in the back of other buildings to our own offices at the Courthouse Square in Eutaw.”
Zippert indicated that the FOGCE Federal Credit Union was regulated and supervised by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), a division of the U. S. Treasury Department. The NCUA also guarantees deposits in the Credit Union up to $250,000 for each account, similar to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation guarantee for bank accounts.
“NCUA makes sure your deposits are safe but they also have been very hard on smaller size credit unions like ours. They are always suggesting that we merge with a larger credit union. They are not encouraging credit unions like ours, which teach self-determination and self-development of financial skills, thrift and systematic savings in the Black community,” said Zippert
Zippert also announced that the Credit Union Board had named the conference room in the back of it’s office building, as the Willie Carpenter Conference Room, in honor of the longtime Treasurer of the credit union, who passed away during the past year. “We will be placing a framed picture of Mr. Carpenter in the room with a written statement of his the dedicated work in building the FOGCE FCU over the past four decades,” said Zippert.
Darlene Robinson, Vice-President pointed out that the FOGCE FCU has payroll deduction with the major employers in Greene County, such as the School Board, Catfish plant, Hospital, WestRock box factory and many others. “This means that you can make savings and pay loans through your place of work. The funds will come out of your check and come automatically to the credit union,” she said.
Darlene Robinson was also Mistress of Ceremony for the Annual meeting and conducted elections, distributed door prizes and played some Christmas related games. Two members were re-elected to the Credit Union Board, Carol P. Zippert and Earnest Edmonds and one new member, Jackie Allen, was elected for three-year terms. James Powell and Debbie Rice were re-elected to the Credit Committee, which evaluates and approves loans.
Robinson pointed out that the “FOGCE Federal Credit Union is open to all who live, work or worship in Greene County.
Membership is $10 plus a minimum first deposit of $25. You can save regularly and systematically and your savings will grow. Then when you need a loan – you have a friendly place to borrow. The Credit Union office, on the Courthouse Square, at 112 Prairie Avenue, phone number 205/372-9025, is open weekdays, to receive new members.”

School Board names consolidated middle school for former superintendent Robert Brown

robert brown

At its regular monthly meeting, July 18, 2016, the Greene County Board of Education voted unanimously to name the new middle school, formed recently with the combining of Carver Middle School and Paramount Jr. High, the Robert Brown Middle School.  Dr. Robert Brown was appointed as the first African American Superintendent of Schools in Greene County and served in that leadership position from 1970 to 1980. Prior to his appointment as superintendent, by the all African American member school board, Brown served as Principal of Paramount High School for three years, following his service as a science teacher at what was previously Greene County Training School.
According to School Superintendent Dr. James H. Carter, Jr., once new signage is obtained for the Robert Brown Middle School, the unveiling ceremony will be announced.
At the opening of his report to the board, Superintendent Carter brought forth a young man who had completed requirements for his high school graduation by attending summer courses.


Shown above  GCHS Principal Garry Rice,
 Vince Mullen and Superintendent Dr. James Carter

Vince Chevas Mullen, Jr., 18 years old, was determined to achieve his high school diploma even though he did not have sufficient credits to march with his Greene County High School classmates at the May 2016 commencement.  Mullen satisfied all course requirements through the summer school program offered in the school system, and plans to attend Shelton State Community College. He is the son of Cathleen Prater and the grandson of Ethel Giles of Forkland, AL.

In his report, Superintendent Carter noted that the first day of school for students is Monday, August 8, 2016. Institute Program for school personnel is Wednesday, August 3 at 8:00 a.m. at Greene County High School.  New Teacher Orientation will be August 1 & 2 at 9:00 a.m. at the Board’s Central Office.
The board approved the following personnel items recommended by the superintendent. *Recalled faculty and staff include: Erik Hendricks – Physical Education teacher at Eutaw Primary; Jerome Franks – Physical Education Teacher at Greene County High; Cordarrin Wilson – Teacher at Greene County Learning Academy; Linda Little – Social Studies Teacher at Greene County High; Romanda Askew – Cook at Eutaw Primary.
* New employment approved:  Malenie Wakefield – Science Teacher at the new middle school; Ms. Cassandra Glover – School Nurse; Teresa Atkins – Family and Consumer Science Teacher at new middle school; Jerome Franks – Physical Education/Driver’s Education Teacher at Greene County High; Ellanise Walker – Science Teacher at Greene County High; Mary Henderson – Part-time Secretary at Greene County Career  Center; Wanda Gaitor – Part-time Secretary at Greene County High.
* Reassignments approved: Sandra Gordon from 7th and 8th grade Reading Coach at Carver Middle School to 4th – 8th grade Reading Coach at new middle School for the 2016 – 2017 school term; LaJoycelyn Davis from Secretary/Bookkeeper at Carver Middle School to Secretary at new middle school for the 2016 – 2017 school term; Marilyn Sanford from Secretary/Bookkeeper at Paramount Jr. High School to Bookkeeper at new middle school for the 2016 – 2017 school term.
* Resignation: Bruce Jackson – Physical Ed/Driver’s Ed Teacher at Greene County High.
* Additional Service contract approved: for Jocephus Patrick – Track & Field Coach at Greene County High School for the 2016 – 2017 academic year. (Separate Contract).
Other points from Superintendent Carter’s report are as follows:
* All students will have opportunity to take AP classes.
* More students will be encouraged to participate in dual enrollment program at Shelton State as well as the University of West Alabama.
* Superintendent will organize a Superintendent’s Faculty Cabinet.
* Pacing guides will be placed on-line for parents to follow.
* Teachers will be required to develop syllabus for academic classes.
* Student grades will be available to parents in a timely manner.
* Professional development will be customized to needs of students and teachers.
* Teachers and principals will be required to develop curriculum guides for all core subjects.
* Local staff members will receive in-service training in use official curriculum documents that guide instruction.
* Use of Chrome Books as resource to teach computer science.
* Develop comprehensive curriculum for special needs students.
* Actively encourage more parental involvement in education of our children.
* Develop preventative maintenance plan for Greene County Middle School.
* Create landscaping plan for all Greene County schools to enhance campus beautification.
* Create menus in CNP Program that will be more inviting to students, but will meet the healthy lifestyles initiative.
* Organize all Greene County Schools to ensure safety for students and teachers.
Provide ACT tutoring for grades 9-12.
In other business the board approved the following administrative services:
* Revision of Information Guide for Parents and Students.
* Hiring a company that deals specifically with Chillers for repair of the A/C unit at new middle school.
* Agreement between board and Mattie J.  Strode to provide homebound instructions for identified children with special needs for 2016-2017 school year.
* Agreement between board and Helping Hands Therapy to provide Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy for 2016-2017 year.
* Agreement between board and Woods Therapeutic Services, Inc. to provide Behavior Aides for the 2016-2017 school year.
* Agreement between board and Amy Wilson Quitt to provide Speech-Language Therapy services to children at Greene County Head Start for 2016-2017 school year.
* Agreement between Kim Herren to provide development delay services to children at Greene County Head Start for the 2016-2017 school year.
* Agreement between board and Community Service Programs of West Alabama to provide Special Education Services to eligible children in the Greene County Head Start Program for the 2016-2017 school year.
* Mission and Vision Statement for the Greene County Board of Education.
* Bid submitted by Johns and Kirksey for re-roofing Peter J. Kirksey Career Tech Building in the amount $168,000.
* Bid submitted by Borden Dairy Company as milk supplier for CNP -FY 2016-2017.
* Bid submitted by Flower’s Bakery of Birmingham as bread supplier for CNP FY 2016-2017.
* Payment of all bills, claims and payroll.
Bank reconciliations as submitted by Mr. Leon Dowe, CSFO.
The board approved the following instructional Items:
* All students will have the opportunity to take AP Courses beginning 2016-2017 school year.
* Develop a procedure and process to accommodate non-traditional students who request to participate in Greene County School’s athletic program.
* Require all students and employees follow a standard and professional dress code.
* Reconstitution of the Alma Mater/School Song at Greene County High School with the collaboration of the band director and choral music teacher.

Cockrell wins run-off election for District 2 school board seat


Kashaya “Newt” Cockrell won the District 2 school board seat in a run-off election held Tuesday, April 12, 2016.  Cockrell secured the District 2 school board position with a total of 189 (52%) votes to Madylen Thomas’ 173 (48%) total votes.
Cockrell and Thomas led the slate of five candidates vying for the open seat in the Primary Election on Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Cockrell will hold this position on the Democrat’s Party slate for the November 1, 2016 General Election. She is currently unopposed in the General Election. After the vote count was reported, Cockrell said “ I want to thank all those who helped in this election and all those who voted for me. I did not win by myself, it was because of a community effort. I ran to help and support the children of Greene County and provide a brighter educational future for all of them.
Cockrell is a lifelong resident of Greene County with three children, two of whom are enrolled in the Greene County school system. She is employed as finance manager with the Greene County Housing Authority and also works with agency’s youth department.

School board retains Dr. James H. Carter as Superintendent

Dr. Carter

Superintendent Dr. James H. Carter, Sr.


At its monthly meeting held March 31, 2016, the Greene County Board of Education terminated its superintendent’s search and entered into a two year agreement retaining Dr. James H. Carter, Sr. as Superintendent of Schools.  The new contract goes into effect June 1, 2016.
Dr. Carter initially came on board with the Greene County School Board in June 2015 as a consultant through the Alabama State Department of Education. He has been serving as Interim Superintendent of the Greene County Schools since September 2015.
The board commenced its superintendent’s search last June 2015 and when Dr. Carter was asked to serve as the interim superintendent the search was put on hold in August until the following Spring of 2016.
In less than a year’s time, Dr. Carter has introduced various programs and initiatives to boost the academic and cultural exposure for students. These include developing academic partnerships with the University of Alabama, University of West Alabama and Shelton Community College; adding additional career-tech courses and opening a Performing Arts Program.
He has also been successful in securing qualified administrators and instructional personnel for the system.  Currently he is directing significant improvements and updates to the structures at the former Peter J. Kirksey Vocational School. At the March board meeting, Interim Superintendent Carter gave the following report:
* Carver Middle School and Eutaw Primary School will be the sites for the Summer Feeding Program.
* Summer school will be held the first week in June to the first week in July.  Lunches will be provided for those students enrolled.
* A two week Academic Academy will also be available for students at each of the schools during the first two week in June.
* Plans are to explore more academic and athletic scholarships for students.
* Develop more academic plans for special needs students.* Devise strategies to enhance the menus in the Child Nutrition Program.
* Allow Dress-Up Day for students and faculty twice a month.
* Devise action plan to assist students in scoring above 20 on the ACT.
* Expand course offering at Career Center.
* Board must sign up as Charter School Authorizer by August 1, 2016.
* Planning for Virtual School Pilot.
* Advance Ed will review school system documents regarding accreditation April 17-19.
* Principals, coaches and bus drivers should be certified in CPR.
* Planning mentoring and induction program for new teachers.
* Board work session with TCU scheduled for April 11, 2016.
* Board is pursuing consolidation of Carver Middle School and Paramount Jr. High. Board will hold community meetings throughout the county to discuss this proposal.
* Greene County High School graduation set for May 20, 2016, at 7:00 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium.
In other business the board approved the following Personnel Items as recommended by the superintendent:
* Employment of the following teachers at Eutaw Primary School at a rate of $25.00/hr for After School Tutorial Sessions – Funding Source: Title VI (March 1, 2016 thru March 31, 2016): Lashawn Henley; Keshia Williams; Charlease Smith; Brenda Washington.
* Employment of the following teachers at Paramount Jr. High School at a rate of $25.00/hr for After School Tutorial Sessions – Funding Source: Title VI (March 1, 2016 thru March 31, 2016): Shante Morton; Sukova Hicks; Felicia Smith; Mona Duncan; Brenda Grant; Tameshia Abrams; Lonia Dancy-Brown.
* Employment of the following teachers at Carver Middle School at a rate of $25.00/hr for After school tutorial sessions – Funding Source: Title VI (March 1, 2016 thru March 31, 2016): Vanessa Bryant; Joseph Polk.
* Employment of the following teacher at Greene County High School at a rate of $25.00/hr for After School Tutorial Sessions – Funding Source: Title VI (March 1, 2016 thru March 31, 2016): Tonia Sparks.
Employment of the following bus drivers at a rate of $15.00/hr for After School Tutorial Sessions – Funding Source: Title VI (March 1, 2016 thru March 31, 2016): Ayanna Crawford; Felicia Davis; Jammie Davis; Brendan Gaines; Jaida Goree; Joe Webb.
Under Administrative Services, the board approved the following recommendations of the Interim Superintendent:
* School Calendar for 2016-2017 School Year.
* Development of a school district teacher evaluation instrument commencing with the school year 2016-2017.
* Reorganization of the administration at Greene County High School.
* Permission to repair roof at Peter J. Kirksey Vocational Center.
* Permission to modify Peter J. Kirksey into a bus shop as funds come available.
* Payment of all bills, claims and payroll.
Bank reconciliations as submitted by Mr. Leon dowe, CSFO.
Designate Greene County High School as a storm shelter open to the community.
The following Instructional Items recommended by the Interim Superintendent were approved by the board:
* Requirement for all students to take Algebra I & II, Chemistry, and Biology prior to graduation commencing with the 2016-2017 incoming Freshmen students.
* A 9th Grade Academy at Greene County High commencing with the 2016-2017 school year.
* Cursive writing course for grades K-2.
* Financial independence course for grades 6-12 (Banking Course) and develop an agreement with Citizens Trust Bank and Merchants & Farmers Bank to provide support.
* Course that will encourage students to participate in voting process and to teach them more about local, state and U.S. government.
* Revision of the Information Guide for Students and Parents.