Chesterton Tribune

Duneland says farewell to Mark McKibben, appoints new CMS principal

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Saying good-bye wasn’t easy for the seven Duneland School Board members Thursday and Superintendent Dirk Baer who fought tears reflecting on Support Services Director Mark McKibben’s 19-year tenure.

McKibben choked up too giving his final report to the board on summer projects which flowed into discussing the reason he will be moving to Durango, Colo.

“I don’t want to be a grandfather by Skype,” said McKibben, noting he’s expecting his first grandchild within a few weeks.

Although retiring from Duneland to be closer to his daughter and grandchild, McKibben will be doing similar work for the County of La Plata in Colorado. He is taking a job as its general service director.

Baer said he began work as assistant superintendent about the same time McKibben started working at Duneland schools and said their relationship was a personal one as well as professional.

“It’s been a long journey. We’ve talked about a lot of things,” said Baer, who also lauded McKibben’s work ethic and said he has been an asset to the Duneland schools. “Anything Mark has done has been with quality and integrity.” 

To symbolize their appreciation, the board and Baer presented McKibben and his wife Michelle a framed photograph of the new Chesterton High School. Baer mentioned McKibben was instrumental in its construction. The $70.9 million school opened in 2000. 

As director of support services, McKibben oversaw Duneland’s custodial and maintenance staff, taking charge of outdoor maintenance, roofing, construction and general building tasks.

Thursday was McKibben’s last day and two heads of the maintenance staff will share his duties until the school board names his replacement.

Board member Mike Trout said he spoke with McKibben’s predecessor, Jim Ross, who said between the two of them, he and McKibben served for 40 years.

Baer said the next support services director has some high expectations to meet.

“(McKibben) and Mr. Ross set a strong example for this position. It’s top notch,” Baer said.

McKibben said he will be happy to be with family and will keep Duneland in high regard.

“It’s just been the experience of a lifetime. What has made me in Duneland is my staff and I can’t give them enough credit for it,” he said.

Many Duneland staff and teachers in the audience after the meeting gave McKibben warm wishes for the future.

New CMS Principal named

The school board unanimously approved Mike Megyesi as the principal at Chesterton Middle School to fill the shoes of outgoing CMS principal Craig Stafford. Stafford is transferring to CHS as its new assistant principal, succeeding Tim McGinty who retired this year.

Megyesi has worked in education for nearly a decade and most recently was the assistant principal and athletic director for three years at Washington Twp. MS/HS in the East Porter County School Corporation.

Before that, Megyesi was assistant principal and dean of students at Griffith High School.

He and his wife Lindsey and son Thomas have resided in Liberty Twp. for about a year.

A handful of CMS teachers greeted their new chief and Megyesi said he was eager to start working with them.

“I’m flattered. I’m truly, truly excited and honored to be given this opportunity. I’m ready to get going and see what happens,” he said.

Other hires

The board also made 10 appointments for new teachers throughout the nine Duneland Schools.

Filling in as long-term substitutes for teachers at CHS who went on child care leave are Amy Henderlong, who will teach Science, and Carlos Banuelos, who will teach Spanish.

Having worked two years as a High Ability aide in the Duneland Schools, Kelly McBride will work as a Reading Specialist at Brummitt Elementary.

Chesterton resident Angela Marotto will teach 6th Grade at Liberty Intermediate. Troy Young will also be teaching 6th Grade at LIS.

Katie Kintz will teach 1st Grade at Liberty Elementary.

Cynthia Cunningham, who did her student teaching and worked as an instructional aide at CMS, will now be teaching English at CMS.

Jeffrey Scroggins will be teaching 5th Grade at Westchester Intermediate.

Heather Dunkle, who resides in Porter, will be teaching 2nd Grade at Yost Elementary.

Mindy Balhoff, who served as a long term sub at Bailly Elementary last year, will become a permanent 2nd Grade teacher at the school.

Assistant Superintendent Monte Moffett also announced two resignations -- Cary McKay, 5th Grade Teacher at WIS, and Judith Jones, Title 1 Aide, Bailly Elementary.

Posted 7/13/2012