LA MARQUE — The La Marque school board hired a director for the district’s STEM Renaissance Academy and clarified that employees will no longer be required to take furlough days in the coming school year.
Trustees unanimously approved the hiring of Olatunji Oduwale as the new project director of the school’s STEM program. The previous principal of the academy, Denise Simmons, left to take a position at a college, La Marque Superintendent Terri Watkins said.
Oduwale was a longtime La Marque employee who was let go during a reduction in force in 2013, Watkins said. Oduwale, who is experienced in STEM education, went to the Houston school district but the district was able to bring him back for the coming school year.
“We’re bringing back someone who has a lot of experience and who is going to be well received in the community,” Watkins said.
Trustees also clarified that employees will not need to take any furlough days in the upcoming school year. To save money, employees were required to take five unpaid furlough days last school year. But because of larger-than-expected enrollment numbers, the school district has more money than previously expected and will not need its employees to take the furloughs, Watkins said.
Finally, among other items on the agenda, the La Marque trustees reviewed the work of the security officers provided by Executive Threat Solutions.
La Marque’s Director of Education Support Thomasine Allen said things were “rocky at first” but improved after aggressive recruitment of Houston police officers by Executive Threat Solutions.
Things had improved by the end of the school year, and Allen said she recommended staying with the company for the upcoming school year.
This past year, the district was able to also hire hall monitors and licensed police officers for extra curricular activities through Constable Derreck Rose’s office, Allen said.
Watkins said things will continue to improve as more of the officers hired to work at the school district have training to work with students.
“A big component for security that is going to be coming to our school is that they get training in working with school age children,” Watkins said.