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Board inks contract extension for Grimes

Russellville City Schools Superintendent Heath Grimes is a planner.

He firmly believes in the system's five-year strategic plan and it's clear his board of education believes in Grimes.

The Russellville City Schools Board of Education unanimously approved a three-and-one-half year extension of Grimes' contract at its November 15th meeting. The new contract runs through June 30, 2021.

Grimes is pleased with the progress Russellville City Schools has shown the last two-and-a-half years under his leadership. He credits the dedication from students all the way up to his board.

A lot of systems have strategic plans. Ours was written with a lot of input from the community, teachers, students and parents. We are very much in the process of implementing that plan,” Grimes said.

Grimes' contract provides for an annual salary of $139,000, with a minimum of two percent increase each year or an amount equivalent to the state-funded pay raise, whichever is greater, for the life of the contract.

In addition to his base salary, Grimes will receive a monthly travel allowance of $500 in lieu of a district automobile. Grimes will also be reimbursed at the state mileage rate for any out-of-district travel he does pursuant to his job.

The contract calls for 15 working days of vacation and sick leave as provided to other certified personnel. Other benefits under the contract include a cellular telephone provided by Russellville City Schools and family medical, dental and vision insurance. Grimes will be reimbursed for costs incurred in attending institutions of higher education during his tenure as superintendent.

The contract will automatically extend by one year unless the board gives Grimes written notice 12 months in advance of the last day of the contract.

As a condition of employment, Grimes must reside within the city limits of Russellville.

Grimes' original contract was to expire at the end of this school year. Now that his employment is secured through 2021, he's optimistic about again focusing on the five-year strategic plan.

It will be difficult to accomplish but our people have embraced it and we're doing things better for our kids every day because our system has a plan and we believe in it,” Grimes said.

A key component in succeeding with the master plan, Grimes explained, was to regularly gauge progress.

We talked about a very strong community-driven comprehensive and measurable strategic plan that we check monthly for progress,” Grimes said. “I'm extremely proud of our instructional progress K-12. Our classrooms have become much more open (visits from other teachers, coaches, principals). We have instructional walk-throughs implemented to improve instruction.

We have changed, scheduled and improved both reading and math instruction, specifically small group instruction. We showed tremendous growth on the ACT Aspire this year for the first time in a long time. We improved in 18 of 23 grade/subject area combinations with double digit increases in several grade/subject areas,” he added.

During Grimes' tenure as superintendent, Russellville City Schools has received the 2017 School of Excellence award from AP College Ready for AP growth and qualifying scores. Additionally, Russellville High School was named www.niche.com's number one ranked standout school.

We have great principals in place as instructional leaders and work well as a strong instructional team,” Grimes said.

We also have a board that's very supportive of our school system and an advocate for the system. They have supported me and the needs of our system. I'm blessed to be able to have my contract extended and continue to work with a group of people so strong at what they do. What they do is truly uncommon,” Grimes said.

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