Chesterton Tribune



Duneland hires teachers for 2014-15 school year

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Chesterton High School and Middle School will see many new additions to their faculty in the fall.

Some will be more familiar than others as a few are graduates of Duneland.

Introductions of six new CHS teachers and ten new CMS teachers were made during Monday’s Duneland School Board meeting.

Three new English teachers will come to CHS for the 2014-15 school year Ð Robyn McBride, Kelly Bonich and Karl Schwartz.

Mitchell Nelson will be a new Social Studies teacher at the High School. He is a CHS alum and has taught in Arizona and more recently East Chicago.

Other new teachers are Kathleen Teal as a half-time science teacher and Erin Gerig who will teach strings in the music department.

Also joining the CHS staff is James Moore as a guidance counselor. Chairing the Guidance Dept. next year is Karen Moffett and Kirsten Reed will chair the English Dept.

Meanwhile at CMS, ten new teachers will be coming on board next year. New Social Studies teachers are Luke Starkey and Dana Huwig. Kyle Prow and Kenneth Florek will teach P.E. and Health while Laura O’Dell and Erin Cochran will teach Math. O’Dell has worked in Duneland as a High Ability Instructor and Cochran is a CHS graduate who recently taught in Lee County, Florida.

Cochran’s husband Allen Cochran will teach business. He is also a CHS graduate.

Taylor Tice, another CHS graduate, will teach art next year. Teaching English will be Kellie Roberts.

Carla Sissel, who had previously taught Math will now teach science at CMS.

Other hires elsewhere include Kirstyn Nallenweg who will teach 3rd Grade at Brummitt, Amanda Whitman and Kathryn Ahrendt, who will both teach 4th Grade at Yost. All three are graduates of CHS.

Coaching appointments at CMS include Luke Starkey for Boys Cross County, Josh Tudor for 7th Grade Girls Track and Kelly Williamson as an assistant coach for track.

Hired as custodians for Duneland are Phillip Labere and Travis McCormack. Other appointments include Brian Doolin as a level leader for special education at Westchester Intermediate School, Kevin Murray as Sound and Lights at CHS, with Mike Kozicznski as the stage designer, and Kimberly Balas as the Duneland Operations Coordinator.

Drivers Ed instructors this summer will be Henry Matthys, Scott Truelove, Jason Gast, Greg Kearney, Rex Miller, Robin Hanson, Richard Hurey and Dennis Leonard.

Resigning effective this summer are 7th Grade Volleyball Coach Dan Barkas, CMS Cheer Coach Morgan Bradley, kitchen helper Kellie Jo DelValle and Jackson Elementary secretary Pam Holbrook.

The new teachers received a warm welcome from the board and administration.

“We look forward to having each and every one of you with us,” said School Board President Ralph Ayres. “Your excitement makes the difference.”

Superintendent comments

Superintendent of Schools David Pruis gave the new hires a glimpse of student achievement at Duneland schools by mentioning recent highlights.

Duneland was honored as the “District Champion” for raising more than $37,000 for the American Heart Association. Each elementary school participated in the Jump For Heart program collecting pledges to jump rope while the intermediate, middle and high schools took part in Hoops for Heart where community members supported them in playing basketball.

Pruis said WIS was ranked third in the state for money collected individually, totaling $7,524, and LIS followed with $6,625, for fifth in the state.

The AHA presented the schools with a plaque for their efforts.

Pruis also lauded senior Jamie Ritchea, who recently finished 2nd overall in the Speech and Debate Association’s National Tournament in Overland Park, Kan.

He also praised seniors Taryn Trusty and Andrew Hurst, who were named National Merit Scholars, as well as Mark Childress who won a laptop computer from Brainstorm Computers for having perfect attendance from grades 8-12.

“For you folks brand new, expectations are high,” Pruis said. “We’re here to help you help our kids and make them the best they can be.”

IREAD3 results

In another matter, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Jim Goetz gave the board the results on students’ performance on the IREAD3 exam that is given to all third graders throughout the school district.

Goetz said the outcome is “virtually the same” as last year with 93.1 percent passing compared to 93.6 percent in 2013. A total of 367 out of 394 passed the assessment compared to 410 out of 438 in 2013, he said.

Students in Indiana are required to pass the exam, which tests to make sure foundational reading skills are met, in order to move on to Grade 4.

Those who fail the exam during the school year can take summer school courses and take the test again. Goetz said there are 15 students enrolled in Duneland’s IREAD3 summer school program. The other 12 have “good cause exemptions” and their reading skills have been addressed in their individualized educational plans, or IEPs.

Next meeting

The school board is scheduled to meet next on Monday, July 14 at 6 p.m.




Posted 6/24/2014




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