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Today’s highlights

Army veteran Jesse Linn hugs his 9-year-old daughter Erikah Linn after a ceremony honoring veterans on Friday at Freeman High School. SR photo/Tyler Tjomsland

As we look forward to Friday, it sounds like we can also look forward to some snow this weekend. I'm just glad I won't have to try to drive through any mountain passes anytime soon. Meanwhile, we have some highlights from today's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story on a testy recent East Valley School Board meeting where one board member walked out in the middle of the meeting. By the time the meeting was over, there were allegations of improper expense reports and disappearing reserve funds.

Lisa also stopped by the Freeman School District for their recent Veteran's Day breakfast. Students at the elementary, middle and high school all got involved by serving food and singing patriotic songs. The Spokane Valley City Council advanced an ordinance to regulate barista attire, a move that was greeting with praise from people in the audience. The issue is scheduled for a final vote at the Nov. 26 meeting.

The Spokane Valley Fire Department Fire Chief spent some time at last week's commissioner meeting outlining his response to neighbors concerns about the department's response to a recent fire. There were rumors circulating that it took more than 20 minutes for crews to arrive, but the chief organized a meeting with the neighbors to refute that. The meeting appeared to be well received, he said.

Freeman School District Board Member Diane Woodman passes away

A prayer service for Diane Woodman, a Freeman School Board member since 2005, will be held Friday at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, 4521 N. Arden Road.

Funeral services will be held at St. Joseph's Saturday at 11 a.m.

Woodman passed away July 3 after a brief battle with cancer.

She retired as a school librarian in 2007 from Otis Orchards Elementary School in the East Valley School District. She began her career in education as a kindergarten teacher in 1975 at Trent Elementary School in Central Valley and left for a brief time to work at Microsoft for a year.

Woodman was featured by the Spokesman-Review in a story about her retirement from teaching. She said during her career, the students hadn't changed much.

"They still love recess," she said. "They still love to tell you about their weekend. Kids in general haven't changed. They want love and attention."

Freeman talking money

The Freeman School District board of directors are having a study session tonight to talk about the district's 2012 budget. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. in the District Office conference room at 15001 S. Jackson Road. Since it's a work session there won't be any public comment, but people can still stop by and listen to the discussion.

Freeman says goodbye to superintendent

Freeman School District superintendent Sergio Hernandez pauses in what will be the new lobby area of the elementary school during a tour on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2011. Under his leadership, the district sucessfully passed two levies and a construction bond. Hernandez has also directed the high school and elementary school construction projects.SR photo/J. Bart Rayniak

A retirement reception is being held today in Freeman in honor of retiring school district superintendent Sergio Hernandez. The public is invited to attend the event, which will be from 3:15 to 5:15 p.m. in the Middle School Library (on Jackson Road just west of Highway 27).

Hernandez has been with the district since July 2006 and has overseen the construction of the new high school and the current elementary school construction. He is being replaced next month by Randy Russell, the principal of Coeur d'Alene High School.

New Freeman superintendent

Randy Russell, principal of Coeur d'Alene High, holds his birthday gift, a model viking ship, in the office of his school Friday, Sept. 29, 2006. He just turned 40 years old. JESSE TINSLEY The Spokesman-Review

The Freeman School District has announced on their web site that they have offered the superintendent's position to Coeur d'Alene High School principal Randy Russell. A special board meeting was held yesterday to make the decision. Russell is expected to attend the district's next board meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. April 28 in the middle school library.

News of the decision trickled out into Coeur d'Alene yesterday and the SR's Huckleberries blogger in North Idaho, Dave Oliveria, posted the information. Several people who commented on the post here had good things to say about Russell.

New Freeman superintendent chosen tomorrow

The Freeman School District board of directors announced this morning that they will be having a special meeting at 8 a.m. Wednesday to select a new superintendent. They will meet in executive (closed) session to discuss the qualifications of the candidates, then come back into a regular, open session to hold a vote on which candidate will replace outgoing superintendent Sergio Hernandez. The meeting will be in the board room.

Meet the Freeman finalists

Just a reminder that at 6:15 p.m. tonight residents in the Freeman School District can stop by the middle school gym to meet the four finalists for the superintendent position. This is your chance to meet them and ask questions. The finalists are: Cheney High School principal Thomas Gresch, Liberty School District superintendent Bill Motsenbocker, Coeur d'Alene High School Principal Randy Russell and Mead School District executive director of human services Kelly Shea.

Current superintendent Sergio Hernandez plans retire at the beginning of June.

Coming on Saturday

Don't you just love Fridays? Not only is it the last day of the work week (for most people), but it's also the day before the Valley Voice comes out. There will be some great stuff in the Voice tomorrow. I'll have part two of the report from this week's Spokane Valley City Council meeting. This part will cover discussions on improvements to Broadway Avenue and the comprehensive plan amendment that would repeal the Sprague/Appleway Revitalization Plan.

Reporter Lisa Leinberger is on top of the school news, as usual. She did a story on Central Valley's new composting program that was begun by students at Horizon Middle School. Her education column will also have the names of the four finalists being considered for the superintendent position at the Freeman School District. The community will have a chance to meet the candidates themselves at 6:15 p.m. Monday in the Freeman Middle School gym. 

Freeman superintendent retiring

Freeman School District superintendent Sergio Hernandez has announced that he will retire when his contract comes up for renewal on June 30. He has led the district since July 2006 and oversaw a successful bond campaign that resulted in a new high school and work on the elementary school and middle school that is currently underway. Hernandez has worked in education for 41 years. He was the superintendent in Tekoa for seven years before arriving in Freeman.

A special school board meeting is planned for Thursday, Feb. 3, at 5:30 p.m. in the middle school library to interview two leadership recruitment firms specializing in school superintendent searches. We'll have more on this process in the Valley Voice as things progress.