Chesterton Tribune



Duneland School system honors teacher and staff retirees

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This year, due to COVID-19 social distancing, in lieu of hosting a retirement reception the Duneland School Corporation will honor retiring teachers and support staff and thank them for their years of service in a written form. Also being recognized for their service to Duneland Schools are those Porter County Education Services faculty and staff members. Retiring Duneland teachers and support staff have a combined total of 171 years of service at the end of this school year. The following retirees wish to be honored.

Faculty members retiring

Jim Goetz - Chesterton High School Assistant Athletic Director (21 years). Jim received his undergraduate degree from Indiana Central University and his Masters from Indiana University Northwest. Before coming to Duneland Jim had over 10 years of experience in the classroom at various schools before becoming an assistant principal at Hobart Middle School and later serving as principal at Boone Grove Middle School. In 1999, Jim joined Duneland School Corporation as an assistant principal at Chesterton High School and after four years, he advanced to principal. In 2010, he was selected as Indiana Principal of the Year. In 2013, Jim became the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for the Duneland School Corporation and served until 2018 when he became the CHS assistant athletic director.

Cheryl Muller - Westchester Intermediate Art Teacher (21 years). Cheryl earned her undergraduate degree from Indiana University. She began her career in teaching at Duneland Schools in 1999 as an art teacher at Liberty Elementary. Two years later she transferred to Westchester Intermediate where she has taught art for 21 years. Cheryl says that she loved teaching art and could not have chosen a better or more fulfilling profession. She is looking forward to retirement and plans to continue her creativity refurbishing furniture and homes with her husband.

Garry Nallenweg - Chesterton High School Athletic Director (36 years). After graduating from Chesterton High School in 1973, Garry earned is undergraduate degree from Indiana University and his graduate degree from Indiana University Northwest. He taught for six years in Michigan City before coming home to Duneland Schools in 1984 as a CHS Social Studies teacher. He also served as an assistant principal at CHS for several years before becoming the CHS Athletic Director in 2000 at the present Chesterton High School facility. He had previously coached basketball, cross country and track for 17 years. Garry Nallenweg was recently honored as the Indiana High School Athletic Administrator of the Year for 2019-2020 by the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (IIAAA). Under his tutelage as AD, the Trojans have won nine IHSAA Team State Championships, 78 individual or relay state titles, 75 boys Sectional/Regional championships, 87 girls Sectional/Regional championships, eight IHSAA Mental Attitude Awards, eight girls DAC All-Sports trophies and five boys DAC All-Sports trophies, 60 DAC girls conference titles and 49 DAC boys conference titles. Garry will be retiring along his wife Mary, a Porter County Education Services (PCES) Speech Pathologist who also serves the Duneland Schools at Bailly Elementary and CHS.

Also retiring

Jim Clemons -- DSC Bus Driver (11.5 years). Jim came to Duneland Schools in June of 2007 when he heard that the schools were in need of bus drivers. He served as a substitute bus driver before receiving a permanent position in 2009. Prior to coming to Duneland, he began working at Bethlehem Steel in 1969, but in 1971 he was drafted into the service and spent a year serving his country in Vietnam. In 1973, he returned to his job at Bethlehem and retired in 2002 after 31 years of service. He and his wife Kathy both retired from Duneland in December 2019 and are enjoying their retirement.

Kathy Clemons -- DSC Bus Aide (27.5 years). Prior to coming to Duneland, Kathy was a dietary supervisor at Whispering Pines in Valparaiso from 1971-1985. She attended Ivy Tech for her dietary certification. In 1992, she was hired as a lunch aide at Jackson Elementary School. In 2005, she also joined the Duneland Schools Transportation Department as a bus aide, working both jobs simultaneously. In 2017, she resigned as lunch aide, but continued on as a bus aide through December 2019. Kathy also received her certification for aerobics and has enjoyed being an instructor for the last 15 years. Kathy and her husband Jim retired at the same time in December and are enjoying their freedom. Once the pandemic restrictions are lifted, Kathy and her husband plan to travel the country.

Brenda Harrison - Chesterton High School secretary (26.5 years). Brenda began working for Duneland Schools in 1993 as a lunch aide at Liberty Elementary while also working for Porter County Education Services as a paraprofessional. At the conclusion of the school year in 1994, she served as the Duneland Elementary summer school secretary and in the fall of 1994 began a new position as a secretary at Bailly Elementary. Around 2008, she moved to a position at the CHS Career Center before transitioning to the principal's administrative assistant in 2010. Brenda began her retirement in January of 2020. She is enjoying gardening, her freedom and spending time with her husband and family.

Dale Heuer - Liberty Intermediate Custodian (4.5 years). Dale has worked for Liberty Intermediate School as a custodian since 2015.

He came to Duneland after retiring as a foundry core finisher at ATI in LaPorte with over 37 years of service. He began his retirement in January of this year and is already enjoying his freedom. He is enjoying working on his home projects and hopes to do some traveling.

Marge Schlundt - Liberty Elementary (23 years). Marge began working for Duneland Schools in 1997 as an instructional assistant at Liberty Elementary. Over the years her job title changed from instructional assistant to remediation aide and then finally to Title I aide. Marge graduated with a degree in nursing from Purdue University. She practiced nursing for six years in Georgia, before returning to Indiana and deciding to stay home with her children. When her children began attending Liberty Elementary School, she opted to go back to work at the school since she loved the school setting. She hadn’t really planned to retire unless one of her children planned to have a baby. Her wish came true...her first grandbaby is due soon. Marge will retire from Duneland with 23 years of service. She is looking forward to spending time with her children and grandchildren. Her husband Paul will also be retiring at the end of this year.

Porter County Education Services Faculty serving in the Duneland Schools

Sandi Derr -- Special Education Resource Teacher serving Jackson Elementary (33 years at DSC). Sandi received her undergraduate degree at Indiana University South Bend and received her graduate degree from Indiana University Northwest. She began teaching in 1979 in a preschool program for children with developmental disabilities in South Bend and later moved back home to Valparaiso and began working for Porter County Education Services. Her first two years were taught at South Haven Elementary before accepting the position within the Duneland Schools at Jackson Elementary in 1987 as a special education resource teacher. She expressed that she has worked with several fabulous Duneland regular education teachers, and has had the privilege of working with countless amazing Jackson students. She expressed that her job changed dramatically over the years, but the support she received from principals and regular education teachers over the years was consistent. “It has been a blessing to spend so many years at Jackson and witness the changes that have happened over time. I will always remember my years at Jackson fondly and I hope everyone keeps in touch,” she said.

Debbie Gustafson - Paraprofessional serving Brummitt Elementary (13 years). Prior to coming to Duneland Schools, Debbie was a stay-at home mom who became involved in her children’s school organizations. Through her involvement in the schools she enjoyed the school setting and began working for Porter County Education Services beginning in 2006 serving Brummitt Elementary with the Resource Room for three years before working alongside Susan Townsend with children with intellectual disabilities. She retires with 13 years service from PCES. She is looking forward to spending more time with her family and new grandchild expected to arrive in July.

Mary Nallenweg - Speech Pathologist serving Bailly and CHS (37 years at DSC). Mary graduated from Western Michigan University and received her graduate degree from Michigan State. She began her career working as a speech pathologist in Michigan City for one and half years before being hired by Porter County Education Services (PCES) to work at Bailly and Chesterton High School. She served at both of those schools for most of her 37 years in Duneland as well as a few years at St. Patrick’s School. She is looking forward to retirement along with her husband Garry who is also retiring this year. Her future plans include traveling, visiting family and friends, and most importantly spending more time being a ‘grandma’. She hopes to find a new niche in a volunteer capacity once she settles into the life of a retiree. She expressed that she will truly miss teaching in the Duneland Schools, but will miss the students who have been a very important part of her teaching career the most.

Susan Townsend - Intellectual Disabilities Teacher serving Brummitt Elementary (39 years at DSC). Susan received her undergraduate degree in Deaf Education from Ball State University and her Masters in Teaching the Mildly Mentally Handicapped from Indiana University in South Bend. She is also a licensed Teacher Mentor. She began teaching for PCES in 1980. All of her 39 years were taught within Duneland Schools. Her schools and positions include: Hearing Impaired at Westchester Middle School from 1980-81; Hearing Impaired at Bailly Elementary from 1981-1991; and Self-Contained Mild Disabilities at Brummitt from 1991 to present. When she started at Brummitt, her class was made up of children with intellectual disabilities and has changed over the years to include many children with autism spectrum disorders. Although her training was not in autism, she was able to commandeer and succeed with the help of Brummitt faculty and staff. She is very thankful for her paraprofessional Debbie Gustafson, who is also retiring. During her career she has mentored 11 student teachers and three first year teachers. She believes that student teachers should have their education experience with someone who truly loves their work. Her retirement plans include enjoying her grandchildren, traveling when it is allowed again, reading, knitting and not getting up at 5:30 a.m. anymore.


Posted 6/2/2020




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