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In news today…
Life Care Center of Athens is welcoming a new executive director, Jaimme Preston.
Preston has 10 years of experience in senior care, including serving in business development and administrator roles at Garden Plaza of Greenbriar Cove in Ooltewah, Tennessee.
Preston, formerly Jaimme Masingale, is no stranger to Athens. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business and finance from Tennessee Wesleyan University and served as administrator in training at Life Care Center of Athens for a year and a half.
Also in news today…
Lee University will hold its Commencement ceremonies for spring graduates May 7-8. In order to better facilitate all attendees while honoring safe distancing, there will be six separate ceremonies held in the Paul Dana Walker Arena, which graduates will attend according to their designated department or school.
More than 630 degrees are set to be conferred throughout the commencement weekend. Each graduation ceremony will combine Commissioning and Commencement, which were previously two separate ceremonies, celebrated on Friday and Saturday, respectively, in a given graduation weekend. The six services will feature elements from both the traditional Commissioning and Commencement exercises, with student speakers and the presentation of Bibles and diplomas. The Lee Singers will provide special music for the ceremony with a video presentation.
In lieu of having one keynote address, there will be two students per ceremony sharing their Lee experiences.
The first ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. on Friday, May 7, for undergraduates from the Department of Communication Arts and the School of Music.
The second ceremony, for undergraduate students from the departments of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, and Natural Sciences, will take place at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 7.
The third ceremony will be held for undergraduates from the School of Nursing, School of Religion, and Lee Online on Friday, May 7, at 7 p.m.
The fourth ceremony will take place at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 8, honoring master’s level graduates.
The fifth ceremony, held for undergraduates of the Department of Language and Literature and the Helen DeVos College of Education, will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 8.
The final commencement ceremony, recognizing undergraduates from the Department of History, Political Science, and Humanities and the School of Business, will start at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 8.
The primary venue, Paul Dana Walker Arena, will require a guest ticket. Livestream viewing will be available at livestream.com/leeu and in venues across campus for guests who do not receive a primary venue ticket. Guest seating is socially distanced and designated as general seating and guests will be required to wear masks and complete a health screening before entry to each venue.
The retirement of 10th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Larry H. Puckett has drawn two applicants for replacing him, one short of the number required under state law, so that means Gov. Bill Lee could throw a third name into the hat.
Puckett, 69, has served in the post since his appointment Dec. 22, 1997, and his retirement will end almost a quarter-century on the bench in the 10th Judicial District’s Bradley, McMinn, Monroe and Polk counties. His retirement is effective July 1, about a year before his term expires in 2022.
The commission began accepting applications March 25, and the deadline for submitting them was April 8. Athens, Tennessee-lawyer David Mitchell Bryant and Cleveland, Tennessee-lawyer Michael Everett Jenne applied for the post through the Trial Court Vacancy Commission, but Tennessee law requires three applicants, officials said.
So now, under the law, the governor can fill the vacancy with any person who is qualified to serve as a circuit court judge in the district, according to the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts.
There is no timeline mentioned on the appointment.
He retired before the end of his term, Puckett said, to allow the appointed replacement to gain experience on the bench before they decide whether to run for the seat in August 2022.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee, Education Commissioner Penny Schwinn and members of the General Assembly on Monday urged school districts to ensure federal education funding goes directly toward student achievement. Tennessee has received nearly $4.5 billion in federal COVID-19 relief stimulus funding allocated specifically for K-12 education.
He said the funding should focus on the following priority areas:
- Early reading, tutoring, and summer programming with a focus on phonics
- Student readiness supports including ACT preparation
- Expanding access to advanced coursework
- CTE equipment and programs
- Innovative models for K-12 mental health supports
- Teacher recruitment and retention
- Deferred maintenance for facilities
- Technology for devices and high-speed internet
- Serving special needs and low-income students