Black River Independent School Committee

Date/Time: 07/18/2019 @ 6:30pm

Location: Black River High School Middle School Library


I. Call to Order-Called to Order by JB @ 6:39pm

  1. Roll Call-Suzy Buckley, Joann Wilson, Pat Pullinen, John Bannon, Sean Williams, Uli Donohue, Marissa Selleck; & Jerry Tucker, Jr. @ 6:41pm
  2. Approval of Agenda-Additions & Deletions: PP added 5. Fundraising Brochure to IV. Business A. Updates.   MS has suggestions from MHJ for III. Board Comments.  JW as well.  Motion by JW, 2nd by UD; Passed.

II. Approval of Minutes

  1. 07/02/2019-Motion by JW, 2nd by PP.  Passed
  2. 07/11/2019-Motion by SB, 2nd by UD.  Passed

III. Board Comments

Megan Suggestion via MS-Megan offered to host one meeting a month at her house in Mt. Holly, provide a casual setting w/ refreshments & include more Mt. Holly community members in our efforts.  She suggested first Thursday of the month, so next one would be Thursday, August 1st, 2019.  PP requested clarification that those meetings still start at 6:30pm, group agreed.  Motion by SB, JW 2nd.  Passed.  

JW Board Suggestions-To help with Board process and communication/organization, we follow protocol whereby only pertinent information via work groups is communicated in meetings.  Be prepared, shared ideas/suggestions/comments/updates/etc with MS for Agenda prior to meeting.  Executive Session needs to be included prior to meetings, can’t just add it at that moment.  JW also suggested everyone takes turns leading a meeting.  PP asked for clarification of Voting Members (SB, JW, JB, UD, MP, KG, & MS).  SW reiterated that prioritizing work groups and tasks will help with organization and fluidity of meetings.  Keep it to pertinent/timely updates.  

IV. Business

  1. Updates

1. Appreciated Stocks Account via UD-Met with financier’s assistant and reviewed application; in essence we need 1 (or a couple) names/members to be signees on account, would need to be someone who will be around/available for time to come, makes sense for members who are on bank account already at Heritage (MP, UD, & MS).  All in attendance agreed to keep it that way; will follow up with those members for forms as they get filled out; we just have to officially hire financier as such for our group.  

2. Head of School Position Legal Advice from HT (via JW & JTJ)-JW said HT did reach out to legal resource and their advice was just to clarify that this is a work in progress.  JTJ also clarified that he & his family are interested in our Ludlow community so if they relocated here we’d just need to officially designate the relationship/role; As for Head of School Potential Candidates, PP asked when we’d need to hire someone by.  JB/MS/SW explained this was part of discussion last week, that as well as how, who, when was not yet agreed upon; Board decided to regroup and review work groups this week to designate tasks and get more information and reorganize.  PP-What about money?  That was also part of it, we need to look more into this.  Possibility of “Administrator” in lieu of Head of School might be applicable on app; PP-Interim?  Group-That was also discussed, no consensus yet.  Lastly,there is also a possibility of retaining a Development Director a la an Administrator to help lead and take on many of the tasks; KG drafted position and shared with the group at the end of last week.

      B. Discussion

        1. Review Work Groups, ie: Timeline-JB: If we had a significant amount of money

        we would be having completely different (smoother/quicker) discussions; group

        shared sentiments of reaching out to donors (JW: boilerplate/template to follow

up with guests on), ie: Stemwinder event guests (see below in next Discussion

Point);  SW: Designate enough volunteers for more significant/robust tasks; JB:

Fundraising will be big, reach out to the bigger donors, according to our

Fundraising Consultant the best indicator of someone donating is if they have

donated previously.  PP-Press Release this week is great, but can we also do

just one big one focusing on the figure we need to get going ($200K & $600K?

Yes, $800K).  MS-Yes, also need budget, the more detailed financial

organization we can share the better; JB-In the meantime, now that we have the

$800K figured out let’s post it; could it be for the Marketing Work Group.

PP-Identify what else we need, ie: Curriculum.  SW: Work Groups can be

adjusted as need be, too.  Can meet every week or at least on the phone or via

Slack.  Can then present to Board if work had been completed.  JW: Also need

connections with other community groups, ie: Building Feasibility Sub-Committee

via Town/Select Board.  SW: Retaining an engineer for credibility to show more

hope for actually acquiring building.  JW offered update: the sub-committee is

looking at transition supportively, need to draft a report a la a consultant’s report; PP-Q’s of upgrades in building included? SW: that is actually something work group would cover, & then it would be sent to MS as Secretary to include in Agenda.  UD-Also, create a Hiring Committee for lead position, and then they can transition into official Hiring Committee for rest of positions at the school.  They will review the candidates & then send recommendations to the Board; committee can include both Voting Board & members as well.  Hiring Committee will include SB, PP, & MS.  SW: We also need to make sure we don’t have too many people on one committee, gets overloaded; also, not all of them need to meet or complete tasks every week, refer to MHJ’s timeline.  SB: What about Policies?  SW: It falls under “Legal” Work Group.  SB: Has templates.  MS-Clarification for involvement in any & all Work Groups, Secretary Groups includes a lot of information & scheduling management; JW & SW: That’s fine, as long as it’s for work related tasks & not actual decision making.  JB-Which ones need to meet for next week? Group Agreed that Development & Marketing Group.  Also follow up to schedule interview with OVTV next week (MHJ also offered to be involved again with that).

        *Follow Up-MS reschedule w/ group & OVTV

2. Stemwinder Event Guests Follow Up via MS-JB: Angel List?  MS-”Angel List” is big donors and KG suggested we utilize Suzanne Garvey (community member, long standing local realtor, excellent resource), KG will help facilitate.  We had several guests donate money, thank you’s tax deductible letters & list are updated other than one online one from last night.  Questions from group about previous lists drafted and how to keep track, ie: Mailchimp?  

*Follow Up-Familiarize with Mailchimp & organize lists

*Follow Up-MS to write up attending guests list

*Follow Up-Next week group will designate guests to reach out to, draft

template of how to address goals with guests/donors.

*Follow Up-MS to organize meeting for Development Work Group (includes MP, MHJ, PP, & MS)

MS-Also, update from Fundraising Consultant, who can provide us with a

temporary template to use for organizing donors until our base grows.  

        3. Head of School Job Posting-Will be the task of the Hiring Committee,

discussion is what those duties/goals are.  Questions about who, how, & when

reviewed; SB suggested the Hiring Committee drafting Pros & Cons to help

Board with this process.  JW-Since we’re working with other community groups,

Ie: Town, Select Board, etc, we can only work based on what we know today;

stay on pace with what we can accomplish in the meantime.  

4. Event Calendar, Potential Events-Google Calendar created a few months ago,

had utilized it initially, need to return to it & form more events.  SW: One of the

guests, a Mt. Holly school teacher, suggested at the event we do small events

frequently, like attend a Mt. Holly Staff meeting.  JW-Also, small businesses here

like Cafe DeLight; furthermore, provide more tangible progress for doubters,

people who fear this is only a “pipe dream.”  JW: Could do something similar to

Logan Nicoll’s coffee shop stops.  JB-So one big event once a season (every 3 months) & several small ones frequently.  JW-There will also be a Public Forum TBD.  MS-Yes, meetings are posted on Google Calendar as well (ie: Select Board meetings, Zoning & Planning, LMHUUSD meetings, etc).  PP-Also, can we set up at businesses to share/pass out information, ie: Wine & Cheese Depot.  Calendar/Event planning designated to Marketing Group.

        *Follow Up-Marketing Group responsible for Events Calendar

        SB-Suggestions about presence in other local communities that are Choice?  

        Group-For now, tread sensitively.  SB-Possibility of Weston Playhouse during

        Matinees (decent hours).

        5.  Fundraising Brochure-Compare to what we have now, how can we edit?

        Drafting a new Brochure will be under Marketing.  PP-Reiterated we need more

        clarification on the back of sending/getting donations in.  JW-There are a number

of the former ones left, can pass on new information/updates to include.  MHJ is

a content developer & is really interested in this task.  Review MHJ Timeline draft

next week.  

        *Follow Up-Marketing Group to update/draft new brochure

V. Public Comments

UD suggested that since we always discuss important tasks to complete how do we also follow up to make sure things are followed through with asap; someone needs to be point person to reach out to rest of Work Group.  MS-Can also include “Assignments” at end of Minutes/Notes to send out.  Reviewed Work Group & what needs to be done, if anything, within the next week for each one.


-Vision, N/A.

-Development, Angel List via MS

-Legal, N/A.

-Marketing, Press Release via JW & KG; Video Presentation (SW to take the lead); & Website direction via UD & MHJ.

-Curriculum, N/A

-Building, N/A

-Finance, N/A but UD reiterated that Board members agreed within past week finances & specifically budget needs to be more official ASAP, requested Judy Pullinen’s assistance, PP blessed; PP will be point person.

-Hiring Committee, Pros & Cons sooner rather than later (SB to take the lead).  

Public Comment via SB: When we get the Appreciated Stocks donation, would it be good for our credibility if it was anonymous or not?  Doesn’t matter.  But put it in a press release/material when it is official.  JW-Also other options, ie: provide requesting a “Match” from other community members/donors.

SW suggested, via MHJ, having a Board/committee fun activity together ie BBQ or some meal.  Offers closer acquaintance amongst ourselves.

PP shared old “Black River Banner” magazines, lots of cool history (over 100 years!); utilize for future Press Releases.  

VI. Suggested Items for Next Meeting

Designate team leader for Work Groups

Angel List-Guests/donors to follow up with ASAP!

VII. Adjournment-SB Motion, Group unanimously 2nd.  Passed, adjourned by JB @ 8:23pm.  


*Follow Up-Familiarize with Mailchimp & organize lists (MP/HD)

*Follow Up-MS to write up attending guests list

*Follow Up-Next week group will designate guests to reach out to, draft template of how to address goals with guests/donors.

*Follow Up-MS to organize meeting for Development Work Group (includes MP, MHJ, PP, & MS)

*Follow Up-Marketing Group responsible for Events Calendar

*Follow Up-Marketing Group to update/draft new brochure

*Follow Up-MS reschedule w/ group & OVTV