Chesterton Middle School Principal James Ton is among the 16 certified
Duneland School employees who have announced that they will retire this
The Duneland School Board on Thursday approved the list of retirees, who
collectively have spent a total of 517 years at the Duneland Schools and 567
total in education.
All 16 qualify for an early retirement incentive that the Duneland Schools
are offering veteran teachers as part of a cost-saving move needed to offset
$1.6 million in state funding cuts (see related story).
Duneland Superintendent Dirk Baer said that the retiring employees have
dedicated their lives to Duneland School kids and that the school system
will try its best to find quality replacements. But he added: “You don’t
replace the kind of experience (shown) by the people on this list.”
The list of retiring teachers include a number of well-known names, one of
whom is Ton, who is also a Chesterton Town Council member and who has been
with Duneland since 1973.
In alphabetical order, the list of retirees approved Thursday is as follows:
Larry Bol, a Yost Elementary teacher, has been teaching at the elementary
level at the Duneland Schools since 1968.
Linda Cominos has been teaching at Duneland for 26 years. She has taught
music at Bailly, Brummitt, Liberty Elementary and Liberty Middle School.
Kathleen Erdelac has been teaching at Duneland for 11 years. She taught for
10 years with the Porter County Interlocal and six years in parochial
schools. She most recently taught at Jackson Elementary.
John “Bill” Gustin has taught at Duneland for 40 years. He has taught at the
elementary level at Bailly, Brummitt, Jackson, Yost and Westchester
Intermediate and also has coached.
Cindy Kelly has been teaching in Duneland since 1978. She has taught first
and second grade at Bailly Elementary.
Tom Kennedy has been teaching at Duneland since 1977. He also taught for six
years in Crown Point. He has been music director and taught instrumental
music at Liberty and Westchester Middle and Chesterton High School.
Steve LaPosa has been teaching in Duneland since 1977. He has taught health
and physical education at Brummitt, Jackson, Yost, WMS, and CMS. He has also
served as athletic director and coach.
Rick Lawson has been teaching and serving as a guidance counselor in
Duneland since 1977. He began at Liberty Elementary, teaching first, fourth
and fifth grades. After obtaining his counseling degree, he became a
guidance counselor at Liberty and Jackson Elementary.
Pat Mitchell has been teaching in Duneland since 1967. She worked at
Duneland for two years, moved to Wisconsin for one year, then returned to
Duneland in 1971. She has worked at WMS and CMS.
Sue Perry has been teaching in Duneland since 1991. She also worked seven
years in the Portage Schools. She has taught communications and social
studies at WMS and CMS.
Clare Pokorny has been teaching in Duneland since 1993. She has also worked
nine years at the Valparaiso Schools and has taught at the university level.
She has taught math at Liberty Middle and CHS.
Pat Salyer has been with the Duneland Schools for 40 years. She began
teaching elementary at Bailly and then moved to Liberty. After becoming a
guidance counselor, she work at WMS and at CMS.
Pete Shaw has been teaching in Duneland for 34 years. He also taught one
year each in Hammond and Crown Point schools. He has taught social studies
at LMS and CMS.
Elaine Shumway has been with the Duneland Schools for 42 years. She has
taught French at LMS, WMS, CMS and CHS.
James Ton has been with Duneland for 37 years. He also worked five years at
Gary Emerson. He taught social studies at CHS and was a guidance counselor
at LMS. He served as assistant principal at LMS and WMS before becoming
principal at WMS and then CMS.
Stan Zeck has been with the Duneland Schools for 38 years. He has taught
math at LMS and at CHS.