Superintendent Marc Gee told the Preston School board during their January meeting that the recent federal government shutdown is not affecting the district at the present time because federal funds used by the district have already been allocated.

“But starting in April we get notification of allocation for future funding. So the government shutdown could affect us if it goes on around April,” he said.

Rachel Madsen, coordinator of the Southeastern Idaho Tech SIETec, thanked the district for being the sponsoring school for the program. It is offered to students in both the Preston and West Side School districts as well as in Malad.

She noted that with the district’s help in running finances, the program is able to “provide some extra funding to the district” as well as to the program.

She related several “victories for what we do,” as she shared experiences local students have had “apprenticing” with local businesses. A girl was able to work in each of Franklin County Medical Center’s departments to get a feel for the career she hopes to have one day. A young man was able to work for Campbell Scientific as an intern. "We paid him $7.50 per hour and they decided he needed to be paid $10 per hour so they paid him the balance,” she said. 

Another student we had went to Cache Valley Humane Society. During that process they found out that she was in a graphic design class (at PHS) so they hired her to do some graphic design work,” said Madsen. “We have a lot of different stories like that, … victories for what we do.”

Last year there were 32 SIETec graduates from Preston High School This year there are 60 youth “on track to earn a SIETec diploma when they graduate with a PHS diploma in the spring.

The program has also hired Tamara Harris to work specifically with kids to create quality resumes and cover letters. 

She works with students in the program’s core classes (auto tech, electronics, EMT, CNA, cabinet working, graphic design and accounting programs).

“Rachel is a tremendous advocate for the program and the teachers. She’s always looking for ways to enhance the experience for the students. She arranges for professional development for the teachers. We really appreciate the work that she does,” said superintendent.

The technical field is “truly where most of the jobs are,” said Madsen. “That’s where our efforts need to be, and it’ll lead to other education,” she said. Preston School District is the sponsoring district for the SIETec program.

This year, PHS expects three students to receive $500 scholarships for post high school technical education.

Also during the meeting, the board voted to keep Joy Christensen as the board chairman and Brooke Palmer as vice-chairman. The board also voted in Lori Heusser as the their clerk, thanking Brian Mendenhall from the position, which he has held for over 20 years.

“I appreciate everyone’s willingness to serve,” said Christensen.

The board thanked Superintendent Gee for smoothly handling the resignation of PHS principal Curtis Jensen and released him from his contract. Jensen accepted a position in the Jordan Utah School District. 

“We certainly appreciate Mr. (Russ) Lee and his willingness to step up to the plate (as principal) already,” she said. Lee has been the assistant principal since school began last fall.

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