Public support moves board to retain counselor full-time

Carol Townsend

The Galva Junior-Senior High School guidance counselor will continue to work full-time after an outpouring of support requested that at the March 16 meeting of the Galva School Board.

A large crowd that filled much of the Galva High School cafeteria turned out Monday night to express their desire to see Vicki Conner remain in her position full-time. A board meeting agenda item had said her position may be reduced to part-time (eight tenths of full-time).

Students, parents and community members shared with the board heart-warming stories about Conner and her efforts.

Parents Patty Collinson and Heidi Martin presented petitions and letters asking that Conner be kept at full-time. Petitions contained 224 students’ signatures and 163 adult signatures. 

Collinson said Conner offers a tremendous assistance and creates opportunities for students. She also noted that Conner works many more than 40 hours a week.

Jeanine Peterson, a parent, said Conner has “very, very good rapport with the students.”

“She is making a difference,” Peterson said.

Mothers Valorie Hall and Tammy Cokel told the board of Conner’s great help with their daughters, who both lost their fathers when they died very unexpectedly during the girls’ senior years. Conner’s open-door policy was a tremendous help, it was said. Both mothers said it was Conner who helped their daughters get through the day.

Hall said her daughter is now in college and wants to become a teacher and help other students like Conner helped her.

Students spoke - some sobbing - of how they had very dramatic experiences in their lives including depression, suicide and one who saw a man struck and killed by a train. They both attributed where they are today to the efforts of Conner.

The board went into executive session for nearly an hour and then unanimously voted to strike off the meeting agenda item about not renewing Conner’s contract. She will remain full-time.

The crowd applauded the decision.

“Thank you for letting me be part of your life,” Conner said.

She also told the Galva News that she “absolutely loves” her job and the kids, and said she’s working what she calls her “dream job.”

School board President Gary Edmonds said the board has a hard time with decisions that affect a position.

“Sometimes you don’t know if the decision was right for five to 10 years,” he noted.

Meanwhile, in another personnel issue, the board did not take action Monday on the possible hiring of a teacher, another agenda item.

“I can’t recommend hiring an additional social studies teacher now with the present finances,” Supt. Dr. James Minick told the board.

For more personnel decisions made by the board Monday night, see the March 19 Galva News.