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New coach proud to be a panther
Aaron Miller going to national speech tourney
new slt School-coach-web
Tim Brooks - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

Great Bend High School’s new head boys basketball coach, Tim Brooks, will meet student athletes Tuesday morning. Brooks also attended Monday’s USD 428 Board of Education meeting where his appointment was approved. He will also serve as assistant activities director at Great Bend Middle School and will be a strength-conditioning coach at GBHS.
Superintendent Brad Reed said that Brooks was the first choice after separate interviews with a search committee, himself and the district activities director.
“It was a very easy decision,” Reed said. “Tim is an experienced coach. ... He’s a winner who knows how to build a program.”
Brooks has held coaching positions at Dodge City and Manhattan, and spent the last season as head coach at Cimarron High School. He shook hands with school board members Monday and said, “It’s great to be a Panther.”
Other personnel appointments approved Monday were Dustin Klassen, physical education teacher at Jefferson Elementary; John Ladwig, English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher at Riley Elementary; and Priscilla Rose, fourth grade teacher at Eisenhower Elementary.
Resignations were accepted from Austin Russell, GBMS band instructor; and Teresa Frieb, a teacher for the Barton County Co-op of Special Education. There was also a letter of intent for withdrawal from Taylor Habiger, who has previously accepted a position at Jefferson.
The board met in executive session with Reed for 35 minutes for the annual superintendent’s evaluation.

Savings on insurance, paper
The board approved student insurance for 2016-2017 and cut the cost from around $43,000 to $38,446 by switching companies. Assistant Superintendent Khris Thexton recommended using Student Assurance Services Inc., a plan offered through the Kansas Association of School Boards. It is considered secondary insurance with a maximum benefit per claim of $25,000. It includes students from preschool through 12th grade, including those in school activities. Board member Dr. Larry Kutina voted against the coverage change.
In addition to saving money on insurance, the district will save $5,371 on white copy paper next year by reducing the order from 960 cartons to 840 cartons, Thexton said. The district made an effort to reduce paper use with more electronic documents The contract for 840 cartons of 8.5 by 11 paper and 40 cartons of 11 by 17 paper went to the low bidder, XPEDX in Wichita, for $20,085.
The board also approved renewing membership in the Kansas Association of School Boards at the same rates as last year. Membership is $11,548 plus $1,650 for the Legal Assistance Fund. “We rely pretty heavily on KASB,” Reed said.

Headed for nationals
GBHS junior Aaron Miller qualified for the 2016 National Speech & Debate Tournament, June 12-17 in Salt Lake City, Utah. His coach, Barbara Watson, noted that Miller placed third at the west Kansas district speech national-qualifying tournament in the Original Oration category.
“He researched, wrote and memorized a 8-10 minute speech,” Watson said. “We are honored that he qualified this year and are very excited.”
The school board approved travel reimbursement for Miller, Watson and her husband. Watson and her husband will also serve as judges for the tournaments, which will be going on in eight different schools during the week. Miller’s mom will travel with him but will pay for her own meals.
Watson noted that about 1 million students compete in National Speech and Debate Association (formerly National Forensic League) contests each year and approximately 5,000 qualify for nationals.