VIDEO: DeKalb BOE receives update on network upgrades
October 27, 2017
Southern Torch (3845 articles)

VIDEO: DeKalb BOE receives update on network upgrades

PHOTO: Stephen Cochran of Howard Technology Solutions updates the Board on the network upgrades during the work session. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

RAINSVILLE, Ala. — (Video and Employee actions at the bottom) As part of the work session, the DeKalb County Board of Education were updated on the ongoing network upgrades, which the board is currently undergoing to improve their device functionality.

Representatives of Howard Technology Solutions from Ellis, Mississippi, who has been conducting the upgrades, were present at the meeting to update the board. Nathan White and Shephen Cochran addressed the board.

Board Chairman Jeff Williams introduced them by saying: “I hope all of you aware by this point, we are in the midst of a major network upgrade and in that transition phase; we think that’s going well. We have some guests with us today, that are going to give us an update of where we stand.”

“We’ve been very pleased with the process of how this has went,” said Superintendent Jason Barnett. “Back when I first took office, this was kind of laying on the desk, and we started working through this, and we made sure we took the right steps and make sure we didn’t have any missteps.

“I knew this was a major, multi-million dollar project, and didn’t want any foul steps on following through with it. So we vetted out the process and the folks that were going to be doing it, and after we met with them we were very pleased with what we heard. And of course, as we got into the process with what we experienced, and how we went through the process. I couldn’t be happier with how it went,” said Barnett.

Nathan White, Account Manager for North Alabama first addressed the board: “We’ve been super thankful for all the school’s administration. We’ve worked with power companies, administrators.”

“It’s a daunting, Daunting process. I think right now we are at five schools completed. Ultimately our goal is not to throw equipment at the problem, it’s to improve learning spaces and environments; cutting down on headaches for your teachers, while providing consistent and reliable network connectivity,” said White.

White then introduced Stephen Cochran, who has handled much of the project:

“Just to rattle off the numbers: 160 switches, 70,000 feet of fiber, but beyond that, completely forklifting your network,” said Cochran. “Every device, at every school, that touches the internet, is getting new IP addresses; new stuff. There is not a device that’s left unturned as part of this project.”

“Next week we will turn over Collinsville and Valley Head. It will be 30 to 60 percent faster for your students to go from their device to the internet, The ultimate goal is to make the network accommodating and usable, and they can depend on that technology as they go on throughout the year,” said Cochran.

Board Member Mark Richards then asked, “The schools that we’ve got complete, are there any big hang ups or, anything that stands out that we are still lacking on that?”

“We turned over Geraldine First, and there was some issues that we were not anticipating. We redesigned those, and we have not had those issues again,” said Cochran.

“What were some of the other schools (that are on the new network)?” asked Board member Matt Sharp.

“We’re done with the Crossville community, and we just turned over Ider,” Cochran responded.

Cochran also said they’ve held “Bring your own Device” for teachers to bring any device in they wanted on the network to be added. They hope to replicate this at the other schools as they are moved to the new network and encourages faculty and staff to take part to ensure smooth connectivity.

Cochran then introduced Stephen Skillman, who is from Blount County, Alabama and will be helping the board with the day-to-day operations of the network.


Cochran also stated that they are tentatively anticipating the upgrades to be complete by the end of the year.

Other items in the workshop: 

  • Teacher evaluations: 
    • Tony Bell discussed a new program for teacher evaluations. The school system is moving from the “Educate Alabama,” to the “Educator effectiveness,” format. The school system is part of the pilot program for the Alabama Board of Education All non-tenured teachers will get at least two evaluations, and at least two twenty minute observations per cycle. “So basically at this point in time, people need to be working to complete their evaluations,” Barnett said.
  • Going Green:
    • The Board is currently evaluating companies to help the school system save energy in their facilities. Three companies expressed interest in contracting with the board: Noresco, Every Watt Matters, and Schneider Electric. Barnett said of the project: “This will be very beneficial to our district, and beneficial to our energy consumption. It will give you the opportunity to do something good now, and it’s a long-term benefit.” He also said the board would, “select a company that fits our needs the best.”
  • The Board meet with Advanced Ed. earlier in the week.
    • The representative said that the board had the, “Most thorough, well presented plans,” they had seen.

The new sign built at the administrative offices by Masonry Students. (Jason Barnett | DeKalb County Board of Education)

  • Masonry Students construct new sign!
    • Instructor Scott Phillips and Masonry Students from the DeKalb County Technology Center constructed a new sign at the Administrative Office in Rainsville.

Watch the Full Video (Placements, Resignations, Coaching Supplements, list below video):

Early Graduates:

  • Vanessa Aguilar – Collinsville
  • Alexas Contreras – Collinsville
  • Sydney Ford – Collinsville
  • Halle Hayes – Collinsville
  • Abel Morales – Collinsville 
  • Odis Tucker – Collinsville 
  • Jada Welden – Ider 
  • Breanna Bell – Ider
  • Holly Hamilton – Ider


  • April Baird – Elementary Teacher – Sylvania High School
  • Joy Mitchell – Elementary Teacher – Sylvania High School
  • Lea Long – Elementary Teacher- Moon Lake Elementary


  • Kenneth Gilbert – Bus Driver – Plainview- Retirement
  • Jerry Cyree – Bus Driver – Sylvania – Retirement
  • Amber Robison – CNP Worker – Collinsville – Resignation
  • Chris Capps – Bus Driver – Collinsville – Resignation

Leaves of Absence:

  • Renee Farmer – Bus Driver – Collinsville
  • Haley Bryant – Elementary Teacher – Ider
  • Janet Duckett – Elementary Teacher – Sylvania
  • Monica Goodwin – SPED Aide – Fyffe Special Services Center
  • Belinda Tillery – Secondary Math Teacher – Collinsville
  • Whitney Stiefel – Elementary Teacher – Geraldine
  • Samuel McKinney – Bus Driver – Collinsville
  • Tammy Miller – Bus Driver – Collinsville
  • Monique Kittle – Secondary Math Teacher – Sylvania
  • Teresa Jamison – Elementary Teacher – Ider
  • Mirella Munoz – Spanish Teacher –  Ider/Henagar Jr. High


  • Certified:
    • Megan Gilbert – General Science Teacher – Ider (Retroactive to October 16)
    • Joanna Howell – Elementary Teacher – Ider
  • Support:
    • Juanita Simpson – Bus Driver Tech Route – Fyffe
    • Lucas Butts – Computer Hardware/Software Technician – Annex
    • Susan Stoner – CNP Worker – Collinsville

Coaching Supplements:

  • Collinsville High School:
    • Ernie Willingham – Head Football
    • Charles Dutton – Assistant Football
    • Riley Edwards – Assistant Football
    • Jon Tidmore – Jr. High Football, Head Girls Basketball, Head Boys Basketball
    • Luke Griggs – Assistant Boys Basketball, 9th grade Boys Basketball, 8th grade boys basketball, 7th grade boys basketball, JV Girls Basketball, Jr. High Girls Basketball, Head Volleyball, JV Baseball.
    • Casey Isbell – B Team Volleyball, Jr. High Volleyball
    • Shane Stewart – Baseball
    • Claire Chandler – JV Softball, Jr High Softball
    • Jeff Stanley – Boys Soccer
    • Ashton Traffanstedt – Cheerleader Sponsor
    • Allie Jones – JV Cheerleader Sponsor
  • Crossville High School:
    • Miles Holcomb – Head Football
    • Miles Keith – Assistant Football
    • Frank Posey – Assistant Football
    • Danny Smith – Assistant Football
    • Brad Bruce – Assistant Football
    • Dusty Darnell – Assistant Football
    • David Stanley – Jr High Football
    • Jake Peek – Head Boys Basketball, B Team Boys Basketball
    • Dwight Rusk – 9th grade boys basketball, 8th grade Boys Basketball
    • Jay Shankles – Head Girls Basketball, JV Girls Basketball, Softball
    • Kayla Holcomb – Head Volleyball
    • Ariel Johnson – B Team Volleyball
    • Mark Quarles – Baseball
    • Justin Croley – JV Baseball
    • Doug Benefield – Boys Golf, Girls Golf
    • William Brock – Boys Soccer
    • Donny Stevens – Girls Soccer
  • Crossville Middle School:
    • Blake Wilkes – Jr. High Girls Basketball
    • David Stanley – Jr High Football
    • Ashlie Bryant – Jr High Cheerleader
    • Dwight Rusk – 7th Grade Boys Basketball
    • Frank Posey – Jr. High Baseball
    • Kim Osborn – Jr. High Volleyball, Jr. High Cross Country
    • Will Brock – Jr. High Boys Soccer
    • Donny Stevens – Jr. High Girls Soccer
    • Georgana Crisson – Jr High Softball
  • Fyffe High School:
    • Steve King – JV Girls Basketball, Head Girls Basketball, Jr High Girls Basketball
    • Paul Benefield -Head Football
    • Ashley Bunch – JV Cheerleader Sponsor
    • Brad Martin – Jr. High Football
    • Connie Cochran – Varsity Cheerleader Sponsor
    • Steve Edge – Assistant Football, Jr. High Baseball
    • Tim Cochran – Assistant Football
    • Brandi Rowell – Head Volleyball, B Team Volleyball
    • Chris Szydiowski – 9th Grade Jr High Boys Basketball, 8th Grade Jr. High Boys Basketball
    • Heath Thrash – 7th Grade Jr High Boys Basketball
    • Brad Thomas – Baseball, JV Baseball
    • Tonya Myers – Softball, JV Softball, Jr. High Softball
    • Neal Thrash – Head Boys Basketball, B Team Boys Basketball
    • Shawn Wigley – Boys Golf
    • Lindsey Little – Jr. High Volleyball
    • Cheri Williams – Boys Track, Girls Track
  • Geraldine High School:
    • Brad Waldrop – Head Football, JV Baseball
    • Julie West – Softball
    • Ryan Burns – 8th Grade Jr. High Boys Basketball, 7th Grade Jr. High Boys Basketball
    • Christie Brothers – Head Volleyball
    • Alicia Satterfield – Jr. High Softball, JV Softball
    • Jeremy Smith – Boys Golf, Girls Golf, Jr. High Girls Basketball, Head Girls Basketball, JV Girls Basketball
    • Tim Arnold – Assistant Football, Jr. High Football
    • James Gilbert – Assistant Football, Assistant Boys Basketball, Baseball
    • Stephanie Poole – Varsity Cheerleading Sponsor
    • Sid Gillian – Assistant Football
    • Joey Rowell – Head Boys Basketball, 9th Grade jr. High Boys Basketball
    • Shasta Norwood – B Team Volleyball, Jr. High Volleyball
    • Cale Black – Jr. High Baseball
    • Leah Smallwood – Jr. High Cheerleading Sponsor
  • Ider High School:
    • Chris Boggs – Assistant Football Coach
    • Casey Gaddis – Jr. High Football, Baseball, JV Baseball
    • Rob Hannah – Assistant Football
    • Rusty Higdon – Head Boys Basketball, Assistant Boys Basketball
    • Deborah Durham – Varsity Cheerleading Sponsor
    • Sharlyn Huber – Head Volleyball
    • Amanda Hayes – B Team Volleyball, Jr High Volleyball
    • David Hughes – Softball, JV Softball
    • Shannon Pruett – Jr. High Girls Basketball
    • Jason Willoughby – 8th Grade Jr. High Boys Basketball, 7th Grade Jr. High Boys Basketball, Jr. High Baseball, Jr. High Cheerleading Sponsor
    • Brent Tinker – Head Football
    • Dustin Bryant – Head Girls Basketball, JV Girls Basketball
  • Plainview High School:
    • Pat Vinson – Assistant Football
    • Jeff Brooks – Softball
    • Robi Coker – Head Boys Basketball
    • Cody Coots – 7th Grade Jr. High Basketball, 8th Grade Jr. High Boys Basketball, Boys Tennis
    • Zach Mitchell – Jr. High Baseball
    • Ali Moses – Head Volleyball, B Team Volleyball, JV Baseball
    • Kyle Coots – Girls Tennis, JV Girls Basketball
    • Chrissie Vinson – Junior High Volleyball
    • Keith Cofield – Jr. High Girls Basketball
    • Whitney Hodges – Jr. High Softball
    • Jared Carson – Assistant Football
    • Phillip Johnson – Baseball
    • Chase Parker – Junior High Football
    • Brett Benefield – JV Baseball, 9th Grade Jr. High Boys Basketball
    • Karen Kirk – JV Cheerleader Sponsor
    • Heather Powell – Head Girls Basketball
    • Dustin Goodwin – Head Football
    • Seth Busby – Assistant Football
    • Brandi Selvage – Varsity Cheerleader Sponsor
    • Stanley Williams – Assistant Boys Basketball
  • Sylvania High School:
    • Josh Clements – Assistant Football, Boys Soccer
    • Chelsey White – Baseball, JV Baseball
    • Holly Currie – Softball, JV Girls Basketball, Head Girls Basketball
    • Amy Graham – JV Softball
    • Tyler Brooks – Head Boys Basketball
    • Nick Ledbetter – Assistant Football, Jr. High Football
    • Kyle Finch – Assistant Boys Basketabll, 9th Grade Jr. High Boys Basketball
    • Matt Putnam – Head Football
    • Monique Kittle – Head Volleyball, B Team Volleyball
    • Dustin Dalton – 8th Grade Jr. High Boys Basketball, 7th Grade Jr. High Boys Basketball, Jr. High Volleyball, Boys Tennis, Girls Tennis
    • Karyn Puckett – Varsity Cheerleader Sponsor, Girls Golf
    • Kim Corbin – Jr. high Cheerleader Sponsor
    • Traci Roper – Girls Soccer
    • Loria Hitchcock – Jr. High Girls Basketball
    • Ben Pickett – Boys Golf
  • Valley Head High School:
    • Judith Crider – Varsity Cheerleader Sponsor
    • Ashley Conde – Jr. High Cheerleader Sponsor
    • Chuck Williams – Jr. High Football, Assistant Football, Head Boys Basketball, 9th Grade Junior High Boys Basketball, 8th Grade Jr. High Boys Basketball, B Team Boys Basketball
    • Scott Clifton – Assistant Football, Baseball, JV Baseball
    • Sandy Hulgan – Softball, JV Softball
    • Brian Knapp – Head Football, Boys golf, Girls Golf
    • Jamie Vest – Head Girls Basketball, JV Girls Basketball, Jr. High Girls Basketball

Volunteer Coaches:

  • Tony Keith – Jr. High Boys Basketball – Ider
  • Will Jacobs – Basketball – Sylvania
  • Ron Stopyak – Soccer – Sylvania


  • Kathy Butts – Homebound, local
  • Wayne Wilson – Lawn Care, IDEA-B
  • The Learning Tree – Applied Behavior Analysis , IDEA-B
  • Jessice Hullander – 2nd Grade Child Find, Gifted
  • Jazmin Jimenez – ESL Instructional Support for Pre-K – Title III
  • Tracy Tidmore – DVA Academy Tutor, Local
  • Jackie Davis – Fyffe, CNP

Superintendent’s recommendations, comments, and reports:

  • Approved a contract with  Harris Solutions for POS Cloud-based software – $42,598.00
  • Dr. Barnett updated that board is getting close to acquiring the property near Geraldine School.
  • Selected Board Member Robert Elliot to represent the board as a delegate at the annual AASB conference in Birmingham. Jeff Williams will serve as the alternate. 

Matt Sharp during the Board members comments: “I appreciate Dr. Barnett and all the work you do. In our work session today, those are some long term goals that you are setting and that will have benefit to the school system for years to come. I appreciate you tackling those issues and all the other issues that you do. And the fact that you are so quick to address those issues,” 

“We like working with you,” said Richards.

“Well I like working with ya’ll,” said Barnett.

Barnett also discussed the ground breaking of the new bus garage that will be in Rainsville: “I can’t thank the City of Rainsville and the Industrial board enough for wanting to be a part of that. Tolar Construction was awarded the contract. They were waiting on a 911 address and tax exempt to start working, but the first day they got that they had a dozer out there, so I think that shows their commitment. We can start moving on some other capital projects.”

The next meeting of the DeKalb County Board of Education will be held on November 30.

Southern Torch

Southern Torch


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