HCCSC board reluctantly lets teacher move to energy education specialist role

Chris Hoke, who has taught science and social studies for several years at Huntington North High School, will transfer to the Administrative Service Center as of the second semester of the school year and will no longer teach.

Hoke, who currently teaches one Advanced Placement government class and three physics classes, will wear the cap of energy education specialist come 2010. The position is designed to provide the school corporation information to save energy, explains Dave McKee, assistant superintendent for business.

Superintendent of Schools Tracey Shafer presented three options for moving Hoke into the new position for the board to vote on, saying each option had its own pros and cons.

The first was to allow Hoke to start his job at the end of this semester so he could finish teaching his classes.
The second was to allow him to start the new job as early as Oct. 15.

The final option was to integrate both jobs at once. Hoke would continue to teach only his government class and hand off his physics classes to another science teacher. The time that was to be spent in the classroom for science instruction would be used to train him for his new position.

McKee also explained that the second option presented would allow the corporation to save energy sooner. The last option could possibly jeopardize the students who would have to switch teachers mid-term, McKee said.

Board Vice President Rick Brubaker made the first motion of the evening, proposing Hoke continue teaching his AP class and train for his new job at the same time.
It was turned down 5-2. Those voting with the majority were board members Troy Smart and Tom King, Board President Kevin Patrick, and members Scott Hoffman and Rex Baxter.

Those voting in favor were Brubaker and member Dr. Jennifer Goff.

The next motion, made by Smart, was that Hoke finish the semester teaching and take the reins as specialist come second semester.

This was narrowly approved, 4-3. Those voting with the majority were Goff, Smart, King and Brubaker. Those voting no were Patrick, Hoffman, and Baxter.

Some members justified their votes after the motion was passed.

"The main reason I voted no the second time was that there were kids planning on having you in the second semester that have come to me, because this word has gotten out, and have said, ‘You can't let him go.' I work for kids, and I take that seriously, and so my no vote had everything to do those kids and their wishes," Patrick told Hoke.

"I've heard the same comments and that's the reason for my no vote," added Baxter.

Baxter had said previously in the meeting that he didn't want to take a highly-qualified teacher out of the classroom when a qualified energy specialist could be hired.

But Hoke is looking forward to his new job.

"I think that there is a lot of good that could be done in the district and I could be of service to all of the students in our district. I'm excited about the opportunity," said Hoke after the meeting.