Columbia names new assistant supt.

Courtney Castelli

After a discussion during executive session, the Columbia School Board unanimously voted to promote Courtney Castelli to assistant superintendent. 

Castelli, currently the Columbia Middle school principal, will be replacing Beth Horner, who is leaving to become the superintendent of the High Mount school district. 

“Outside of working directly with students in the classroom, the number one way I feel I can impact schools is through supporting teachers and families,” Castello said. “I saw the role of CUSD 4 assistant superintendent as an opportunity to continue to serve the children of this community by maintaining our strong traditions while working closely with all stakeholders to identify areas we can improve upon.

“In addition, the job description outlined a direct role with the district’s curriculum development. This is a particular area of interest that goes back to when I was a high school science teacher. In 2016, I received my doctoral degree in the area of curriculum and instruction. I was excited to be able to put this particular skill set to use within a district I love.”

Prior to serving as principal at CMS, Castelli worked as the assistant principal. 

She has been a school administrator for 14 years, including 11 in Columbia. 

Due to those reasons, Columbia Superintendent Gina Segobiano said Castelli is an excellent fit for the position. 

“I am thrilled to have Dr. Castelli join me in the district office as assistant superintendent,” she said.   “Dr. Castelli’s fourteen years of administrative experience at both the high school and middle school levels, as well as the knowledge gained from earning her doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction, will enable her to utilize her skills districtwide to support all teachers, administrators and district school improvement initiatives.”

In other news, the board discussed a major issue during the race for school board earlier this year. 

For almost an hour, the board debated what should be done about the roof at Parkview Elementary School, a subject that led to acrimonious discussion at the March board meeting. 

The district currently has a contract with CTS group, an energy services company, to replace the roof at Parkview Elementary. 

The question is whether the district needs to replace the entire roof because the roof above the administrative area is newer and the roofing company that installed it, Tremco Roofing, has offered to extend the roof’s warranty 10 years for $10,000. 

Work on the project has not begun, nor has the district committed any money to it, because it is awaiting approval of Health/Life Safety amendment from the Regional Office of Education. 

Board members Greg Meyer and Tammy Hines argued for letting Tremco Roofing inspect the roof before the board started on the project.  

“We can’t be asked to make a decision when we don’t have all the information,” Meyer said. 

At the March meeting, Hines accused Segobiano of not letting Tremco Roofing inspect the roof, saying the company’s representatives had emails to prove that. 

At the time, Segobiano said she did not remember denying them access, but she went more in-depth at this meeting. 

“Tremco has never been denied access on this roof,” she adamantly said. “I’ve never had a conversation from someone with Tremco who has asked me ‘can I get on this roof.’ I’m not sure where that’s coming from.”

Segobiano also pointed out that the district already has a contract with CTS Group, which is ready to start work soon. 

Meyer also said there was a discrepancy with that contract and the motion the board approved in March. 

According to him, the contract was for around $90,000 more than the board approved. 

Segobiano explained the difference.

“The Parkview replacement is the big, huge project,” she said. “When CTS conducted their audit of the roofs, they found some other identified areas in the other buildings. And I did not want that to be part of the Health/Life Safety big project.”

She said the board did not have to approve the other costs, which are for small repairs on other roofs, because they were below a certain threshold. 

The district’s attorney, Barney Mundorf, weighed in. 

“The board should approve whatever the contract documents are,” he explained. “If they’re separated as contracts, there should be board approval for the scope of work that’s going on.”

With the controversy surrounding the issue, representatives of CTS Group attended the meeting, offering amendments to their contract.

That included one that would remove the portion of the roof that Tremco Roofing is offering to extend the warranty on.

Mark Graves, one of CTS Group’s employees, recommended the board approve that addendum so work could begin and the board could weigh its options on the other portion of the roof.

The board could not make any decision, as it was not an action item on the agenda. 

It also did not need to vote on another item it discussed: replacing the field at Columbia High School. 

Segobiano said AstroTurf, which manufactured the turf, will replace it for free since the field is under warranty. 

The district hopes to install the new turf in July, but if that does not happen it would be done in November. 

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