It isn’t every
Duneland School Board meeting that Superintendent David Pruis can include an
Olympic gold medalist in his list of achievements by students from Duneland.
Tuesday was an
exception as he, the board, and everyone in the audience was bursting with
pride over 2014 CHS graduate and state champion swimmer Blake Pieroni being
part of the Olympic relay team that won the U.S. a gold medal for the men’s
4x100 relay on Sunday afternoon.
“It’s a huge
achievement. We’re extremely proud of Blake. We’re extremely proud of (CHS
Swim) Coach (Kevin) Kinel, our swim club, the swimmers and all the moms and
dads,” Pruis said. “We too would like to congratulate Blake on his
outstanding achievement. That’s pretty cool. It doesn’t get much better than
Outside of the 2016
Summer Olympics, life goes on in Duneland. This week Girls Volleyball, Boys
and Girls Soccer teams are underway with the first games of the season. Next
week CHS Football and Tennis will start. The CHS Girls Golf team is already
off to a strong start with wins over Warsaw and LaPorte last week.
to get kicked into high gear pretty soon,” Pruis said.
New teachers and
In other business,
the board welcomed a new group of teachers and staff members joining
Duneland for the new school year.
introductions, Chesterton Middle School social studies teacher Christine
Bullock said she would like to thank the voters in Duneland who passed the
referendum in 2012 which directly led to the school’s ability to hire an
additional four “core” teachers at CMS this year.
At the meeting was
Don Hollandsworth who will teach social studies at CMS, having previously
taught at Bowman Academy.
Principal Anne Stillman introduced Ashley Anderson who will teach first
Principal Christy Jarka introduced Courtney Schmidt who will teach third
grade, having taught previously at Lake Station Schools.
For CHS, Principal
Jeff Van Drie introduced Emily Wilt, the new media specialist who worked as
the media secretary for Westchester Intermediate last year, and Thomas
Garzella who is succeeding Jeff Larson as the Building Trades teacher.
PennyJo Veatch will
teach English at CHS and Matt Walters will be the chair of the school’s
Business Department. Phillip Loos will lead the CHS Orchestra and teach
Other hires in the
personnel report include custodian Nancy Buza and kitchen helpers Krista
Wellensiek, Lucia Dolk, Maria Pedroza and Rachel Alioto.
specialists hired are Jana Carney-Moran and Nicole Bell. Nicolette
Basel-Johnson and Amy Losinski will be high ability aides. Karen Smith and
Charlotte Vawter have been hired as bus drivers.
Russ Frauto will be
a volunteer Cheer coach at CHS.
Business teacher Allen Cochran and Luke Starkey from CMS to CHS. Kelly
Bonich will be an English teacher at CHS, moving to full-time. Previous
third grade teacher Breinne Ramker will be an interventionist at Liberty
Elementary and, previous kindergarten teacher Emily Leonard will teach 2nd
Grade at Jackson Elementary.
month include CHS English teacher Patricia Stellfox, Bailly Elementary Title
1 aide Katherine Kirk, CHS Social Studies teacher Kent Butler, Yost
Elementary first grade teacher Erin Rhodes, music teacher Thomas Santoyo,
and bus driver Karin Vetor.
Back to school
School is back in
session in one week, starting Aug. 17. Registration for 2016-17 is wrapping
up for the high school and middle school this week and appears to be going
smoothly. Registration for elementary and intermediate schools took place
last week and online registrations have also been an option this year.
For new teachers,
orientation will be Thursday morning starting at 7:45 a.m. at the Duneland
Schools Administration Center, Assistant Superintendent of Business
Operations and Human Resources Monte Moffett said. The session will start 15
minutes earlier than originally announced, he said.
Also, CHS will
provide a new orientation program for incoming freshman this Thursday, at 8
a.m., which is being called “Trojan Charge.”
Van Drie said
Assistant Principal Brent Martinson will lead the program which will outline
what activities and opportunities are available to students that can help
them in their career goals. Trojan Charge will last until 1 p.m. and lunch
will be provided.
Summer projects at
all the Duneland Schools are nearly finished, most will be complete before
students return, Pruis said.
The Director of
Support Services will be at the board’s next meeting on Monday, Aug. 22, to
share updates. Right now, the entry way work at CMS is 80 percent or so
complete, with a new awning and parking spaces, Pruis said.
The new entrance
doors at CHS will be put in around the time school starts, but nothing will
prevent classes from starting, Pruis added. The new band tower will be put
in the week of Labor Day, he said.
Roof repairs are 98
percent done at Bailly Elementary and the nurses station is 80 percent
complete at LIS. Painting and lighting has been put in at many of the
Asphalt and card
access security is near ready at the bus barn, he said.
The Brown Mansion
restoration work will be done with painting and wood trim next week. The
basement door will be replaced after that, Pruis said.
In business matters
Tuesday, the board accepted providing a 10 percent match -- a total of
$1,000 -- for a Library Services and Technology Act grant for Jackson
Elementary. The grant will pay for cameras and studio equipment to give
students the chance to create newscasts, such as weather reports from the
school playground. The grant was secured with the help of media specialist
Linda Eleftheri, Pruis said.
The board approved
cooperative bids from Clover Crest Dairy and Alpha Baking for milk and bread
at the schools.
annual Finance Report for 2015, by Chief Financial Officer Lynn Kwilasz, has
been released and was printed in Tuesday’s Chesterton Tribune, Pruis
In board comments,
Kroeger said she felt “very good” about the school board conference attended
by board members this past Friday and Saturday at Swan Lake Resort in
“We have some very
positive momentum on some very important priorities,” Kroeger said.