The Duneland School Board on Monday appointed three new administrators to
replace retirees, resulting in the overall reduction of two full-time
positions through a realignment of duties.
Chesterton Middle School assistant principal Craig Stafford will replace
current CMS Principal James Ton. Music teacher Tom Schnabel will replace Tom
Kennedy as Duneland Director of Music, while Karla Wilson, now a media
specialist at Chesterton High School, will replace Randall Eckley as
Duneland Director of Media.
While they will both be serving as administrators, Schnabel and Wilson will
continue to carry some of their current responsibilities. Other tasks will
be picked up by other staff.
As part of the ongoing budget reductions prompted by state funding losses,
Schabel’s and Wilson’s current positions will not be filled full-time.
Stafford’s current assistant principal post at CMS will be filled, but the
position of full-time athletic director, now held by Steve LaPosa, who is
also retiring, will be filled on a part-time basis. Overall, Duneland will
reduce two full-time slots as a result, said Duneland Superintendent Dirk
Stafford was the unanimous choice of a school committee that evaluated who
to recommend to replace long-time CMS principal Ton. Stafford has been a CMS
assistant principal for four years, previously serving as assistant
principal in the Michigan City Schools.
Stafford was accompanied by a number of family members at Monday’s school
board meeting. In his comments to the school board after his hiring,
Stafford said the state’s trend in support of privatized schools is
unfortunate, but that CMS will not be deterred from achieving excellence
despite new directives from the state.
“I’m very humbled and anxious to start my new role,” he said.
In other personnel matters, the school board approved the following
appointments to fill teaching positions that are being vacated this year
through retirements. Three of the teachers are first-year teachers.
Christina Miceli, a 2010 graduate of the University of Michigan, will teach
math at Chesterton High School. She is also expected to assist with the
Michell Miller, a 2010 Manchester College graduate, will also teach math at
CHS. She may also assist with the girls’ basketball program.
Rachel Blythe, an Indiana University graduate who has been teaching four
years at Avon High School, will teach English at CHS.
Diana Gill, who obtained her undergraduate degree from IU Northwest and a
teaching degree from Ball State, will teach English at CHS. She has three
years of experience at Boone Grove High School.
Elisia Beutlich, a graduate of Calvin College, will teach French at CHS.
Christine Good will serve as the English Department Chair at CMS.
Also Monday, the school board approved bids for school furniture as part of
the Liberty Elementary School expansion project. A total of $156,729 in
purchases were awarded to the following: Sharp School Services, $124,711;
Kramer Leonard, $29,408; and Dunes Office Supply, $2,609.
Duneland Director of Special Services Mark McKibben said the LES addition is
progressing rapidly, with an electrical inspection scheduled for this week.
All windows are expected to be in by the end of this week, and stud walls
are already in place in the east academic wing and nearly installed in the
In a related matter, the school board approved an easement needed to bring a
municipal water line to the Liberty Schools. The water line will be extended
from Meridian Road west on CR 900N. The board also approved an additional
appropriation out of the Rainy Day Fund for the water line project.