By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
More time off for Forsyth County Schools staff could be on the horizon
Plus, 2 schools ask for new names for part of their campus
Board of Education
The Forsyth County Board of Education office. - photo by Sabrina Kerns

Forsyth County Schools could be offering its staff additional time off as leaders try to find ways to better recruit and retain employees.

Dr. Cindy Salloum, Associate Superintendent of Human Resources and Legal Services, presented a new draft of the employee leaves and absences policy to the Board of Education at its work session on Tuesday, March 14, that would increase personal days from three to five.

“We believe that raising the personal days from three to five will solve a lot of problems in recruitment and retention,” Salloum said. “It will also help with work/life balance that our superintendent tells us about.”

Not only that, Salloum said adding more days would help with staff members’ wellness across the board, and the added days wouldn’t have any cost to the school system.

Salloum and her team also updated the language in the draft for the rules around jury and witness leave to ensure no employee would ever be penalized for attending jury duty or for being subpoenaed in a case involving the school system.

The drafted policy is now on the district’s website where it will be open for public feedback for a month before the board votes on it in April.

Big Creek Elementary is the oldest school still in operation in Forsyth County. The original school building, built in 1939, is still very much a part of campus life. - photo by Brian Paglia

The Mary Mathis Auditorium

Chief Communications Officer Jennifer Caracciolo came to the board with requests from both Big Creek Elementary and East Forsyth High School to rename part of their schools.

The request from Big Creek asked that the board allow them to rename the school’s auditorium after Mary Mathis, a longtime friend of the school and community who died in September.

In a letter written to the board, Principal Courtney McKinney states that Mathis grew up in south Forsyth and was part of Big Creek’s first class in 1939. She later married William Mathis in 1948, and they moved into family land in the Big Creek community where they raised three children and lived out the rest of their lives.

When her kids enrolled in Big Creek Elementary in 1959, McKinney wrote that Mathis immediately became involved in the school, becoming one of the founding members of the PTA and recruiting her husband to help her install the school’s first indoor bathroom.

“As her children started families of their own, they all chose to live on the same land and each of her six grandchildren attended Big Creek Elementary,” the letter states.

And through the 1980s and 90s, Mathis continued to stay involved, baking cakes for school events and delivering homemade pies to those in the community in need of a pick-me-up.

Now, Mathis’ great grandchildren attend the school.

To honor Mathis and the work she and her family have done for the school for decades, the board unanimously voted to approve the school’s request to name its auditorium after her.

East Forsyth
East Forsyth's courtyard - photo by Sabrina Kerns

Sources of Strength Garden

East Forsyth High leaders and parents made a request asking to change the name of the school’s garden located in front of the cafeteria to the Sources of Strength Garden, after a wellness program available to students.

“Last school year, we had a student die from suicide and a teacher from a car accident over the summer,” the request reads. We met with our construction company, Carroll Daniel, a couple of weeks ago to review some concepts for our courtyard to create a memorial space, called the Sources of Strength Garden, for current and future students and staff.”

Caracciolo said the area will grow flowering trees and bushes and will feature a plaque that will read:

“To celebrate the lives and contributions of our past One East family. May we be like a tree. Stay grounded. Enjoy your unique natural beauty. Bend before you break and connect with your strengths. Turn over a new leaf. Keep growing.”

The board approved the request unanimously.