The Columbia School Board approved Angela Huels as the new principal of Columbia Middle School at its June meeting.
Huels, who has worked as assistant principal at Columbia High School for the last four years, will replace Courtney Castelli.
Castelli was promoted to assistant superintendent at last month’s board meeting.
“Brian Reeves, the CHS principal, has taught me so much,” Huels said. “He gave me the opportunity to apply my own ideas and make independent decisions. This experience led me to apply with confidence for the CMS position.
“I am very thankful and excited to work with the teachers, students and families at CMS, and, with my teaching background, I look forward to being even more involved in teaching and learning.”
Huels has been in education for 23 years, working at the junior high school, high school and community college levels.
She taught English in Columbia for nine years before becoming the assistant principal.
Columbia Superintendent Gina Segobiano said that experience will serve Huels well.
“I am very excited to have Mrs. Huels join the CMS administrative team,” she said. “Mrs. Huels brings knowledge, experience and a strong technology and instructional background to CMS.”
The board also approved an addendum to the district’s contact with CTS group, an energy services company, to replace the roof at Parkview Elementary School.
That may end an issue the board has been debating since March.
Since that month’s meeting, the board has deliberated what to do about the roof after Tremco Roofing, the company that installed a portion of the roof, said it would extend the warranty on that area for $10,000.
The board already has an approved contract with CTS., but it amended that contract after CTS agreed to deduct the portion of the roof Tremco Roofing offered to repair, which connects two types of roofs over the cafeteria and hallway leading to the district office.
Tremco Roofing agreed to repair that section of the roof, which has experienced consistent leaks, for free.
Segobiano said the district saved $170,000 by using Tremco Roofing to repair that part of the roof.
“We averted a huge waste of money,” said board member Greg Meyer, who campaigned on the issue.
Segobiano also addressed allegations regarding her conduct throughout this matter.
She said after much effort she located files on work Tremco Roofing has done for the district.
Segobiano said she found information showing Tremco Roofing has inspected Parkview’s roof, though it does not appear the area in question has been inspected.
“As far as CTS is concerned, they never recommended we replace this roof fully,” Segobiano added. “They allowed us the option.”
The district wanted to replace the entire roof so it could be the same style and age from the same company.
Board member Karen Anderson said she worried these repairs would not be cost-effective.
“My concern is down the road, when it comes time to replace it, we’re not looking at a waste of money to replace it when we could have added a single roof with a 30-year warranty,” she said.
Meyer said the cost should not be too extreme, though he thought the cost for this project overall seems too high.
Board member Tammy Hines said this relates to her desire to have a district architect.
Broadly, a district architect represents the district and is independent of companies doing work for the district. That person ensures the work is meeting quality standards.
Segobiano said the district did have an architect perform a roof audit in 2013.
She said that company, Ittner Architects, acted as an unbiased party but made an error when estimating the age of Parkview’s roof.
Segobiano also noted that the district’s use of a district architect has depended upon the project. It has recently employed Quadrant Design as an architect on several projects.
She said the board could change that practice in the future if it wanted.
Meyer wanted to change that practice for this project because several roofing companies have reached out to him about doing the work for less money.
He argued the district should open the project to competitive bidding to see what bids it gets.
“The problem is our net amount to replace this roof is roughly $770,000,” Meyer said. “I almost guarantee you that you could find a complete replacement of that roof for $550,000 or less.”
Segobiano said the district would not do that.
“We have a contract that’s approved,” she said. “It’s not a situation where we’re going to cancel a contract to decide to start this project over. We would be in a lawsuit if that would happen.”
She also noted that since it is in a performance-based contract with the district, CTS did bid out the work. It does not have to share the bids with the district.
“We pay them a price and if this roof falls down, they have to pay for it,” Segobiano said. “We aren’t going to get a change order saying ‘oh we didn’t see this.’ That’s why you do performance contracting. And they also do have it based on energy.”
The motion to amend the CTS contract passed 5-2, with Hines and Meyer voting against it.