The new school year will begin, however, without four valued, long-time employees.
"You look at the years there, you're looking at over 100 years of experience that those employees have," Superintendent Ken Rich said after reading letters of resignation from Larry Brown, L.A. Lindsey, Ed Foster and Daisy Howard.
Larry Brown is a high school social studies teacher and has served for years as the golf coach. Brown said in a resignation letter that he is retiring. "It is hard to believe 38 years have passed in a position that I have found both enjoyable and rewarding," Brown wrote.
L.A. Lindsey, a student counselor, is also retiring after 38 years in education -- 25 of those years at Salem High School. "It is time for me to step out of education. It has been an honor and a pleasure to be involved with this school system," Lindsey wrote in his letter of resignation.
Rich praised Brown and Lindsey for their dedication to Salem students. "Whatever you ask them to do, without hesitation, it is always, 'Yes, I'll do whatever you need me to do'" Rich said. "Those type of employees are hard to come by, and we're going to miss them."
Board members Wanda Bishop and Karen Coffman both nodded when Rich noted Brown had taught generations of Salem families. They and their children were taught by Brown.
School bus mechanic Ed Foster and bus driver Daisy Howard also submitted notice they intended to retire.
Foster has been in charge of keeping the system's school bus fleet rolling for 20 years. Rich also noted Foster had other important duties, including making decisions about bus routes and finding safe bus turn-arounds.
Daisy Howard said in her letter that she is looking forward to retirement after 12 years of picking up and delivering students.
During the meeting, Rich indicated that Luke Barker, a science teacher, will take Brown's social studies position.
The board approved the superintendent's recommendation to hire Rachael Faulker for the science position that Barker is vacating. Faulker is currently a teacher at Izard County High School.
The board also voted to hire Mike Innis to take Howard's bus route.
Rich indicated that he will begin the process of finding a replacement for the job of bus mechanic.
High School Principal Wayne Guiltner thanked teacher Amanda Himschoot for organizing the recent science fair, and students for their work to prepare exhibits.
Guiltner announced that Kelsey Pendergrass is one of 10 Arkansas high school students to be chosen for National Beta Club Scholarships. More than 700 students nationwide applied for the $1,000 scholarships, and Pendergrass was among 221 students chosen to receive them.
Student members of FCCLA and FAA were saluted for winning awards at recent competitions.
The board meeting was held several days earlier than usual, because the regular meeting date fell during spring break, which began on March 19.
The April school board meeting is scheduled for April 16 at 7 p.m. at the superintendent's office.
The public is invited to attend.