EVART – Second-grade teacher Jason O’Dell will continue his career at Evart Public Schools in a new capacity as middle school principal.

The board of education approved O’Dell’s promotion during a regular meeting on Monday.

“He’s blue and gold at heart,” Superintendent Howard Hyde said of O’Dell. “He wants to be in this position, and he wants to take the middle school to the next level.”

O’Dell was recommended for the position by a committee of nine people who chose from 31 applicants. Former principal Carol Bogner submitted her resignation in September.

O’Dell graduated from Evart High School in 1991. He also is the assistant junior varsity football coach and eighth-grade girls basketball coach.

In other business, the board:

  • Approved a group of 11th- and 12th-grade students taking a trip to Washington, D.C., in March with their social studies class;
  • Approved the Schedule B and C leaders and activities, which are extracurricular clubs and groups; and
  • Heard a Count Day report from Hyde. Evart had 941 students enrolled on Count Day last week, and the district had budgeted for 955. The decrease in student enrollment is disappointing, Hyde said, and he attributed part of the loss to parents moving out of the area to look for work. “We had some folks where the parents got new jobs – some of it was Dean Foods related,” he said. Dean Foods’ Evart facility will lay off 54 people by November, and the plant will cease operations by early 2013.

Also at the board meeting, Betty Scott, whose children attended Evart schools and grandchildren currently attend, raised concerns about the length of lunchtime at the elementary level.

She said another parent had observed children spending five to seven minutes eating lunch, and she said students should have more time.

Elementary principal Carol Phelps explained that students are given 25 minutes for lunch and recess, and they stay in the lunch room for about 15 minutes of that time.

“No one is made to leave the lunchroom,” she said. “They are given as much time as they need to eat.”

Pat Craven, a middle school teacher who has a child in kindergarten, said some children may eat quickly because they want to go outside and play.

The board will meet again at 7 p.m. on Nov. 12 in the board room at Evart Middle School.