Chesterton Tribune



Duneland Schools honor teacher and staff retirees

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The Duneland School Corporation honored retiring teachers and support staff this past Thursday at a special reception celebration at the Administration Center.

Retiring Duneland teachers and support staff will have a combined total of 245 years of service at the end of this school year. The following retirees wishing to be honored were:

Linda Esserman, Transportation Trip Coordinator/Dispatcher - Special Services Center (28 years). Linda began her career as a bus driver for the Duneland Schools in January of 1991. She drove a Yost Elementary route for 16 years, Bailly for eight years, and then was a special needs driver for two years before becoming the Trip Coordinator/Dispatcher in 2015. The best part of working for Duneland has been the people she has worked with throughout the district, and for the past four years working more closely with “our amazing drivers, as well as Cathy, Kim and Ben.” Although her job is stressful and all-consuming, being trip coordinator has been the most rewarding and challenging job that she has ever had.

Phyllis Flisiak, Secretary - Bailly Elementary School (11 years). Phyllis began working at Bailly Elementary as a secretary in March of 2008 until present. Phyllis feels that what makes Duneland such a great school corporation is that many of the staff members were students in the Duneland Schools. “Duneland does a great job of hiring our alumni and parents. We are a very family-oriented school corporation that cares about our community and our students. By working with our former classmates, their kids, our students’ parents, and our former teachers, it brings a lot of history, experience, and closeness that most school corporations don't have.” Phyllis said. “Also, the staff that have come from other parts of our country have enriched us and blessed us by joining our wonderful family.”

Sue Heater, Webmaster - Information and Technology (26 years). Sue began working began working for Duneland in 1993 as a cafeteria/playground aide at Bailly Elementary School. In 1997, she moved to the Instructional Materials Center when she was hired as the district technology aide. A few years later, she transitioned into the new position of district webmaster. In 2010, the Instructional Materials office moved to the Administration Center. She has worked in the Department of Media and Technology/Information Technology for over 21 years. “I loved learning everything I could about the technology in our schools and then sharing that information with DSC faculty and staff. I truly enjoyed doing anything I could to do help reduce any ‘technology stresses’ for both staff and students,” Sue said. “I'm thankful I had the opportunity to work with some fantastic people over the years, not just in my department but throughout the district.”

Kevin Kinel, Physical Education and Aquatics Teacher - Chesterton High School (39 years). Kevin earned his graduate degree from Indiana University Northwest and his undergraduate from Indiana University. He actually began at Duneland as an instructional aide in swimming in 1976. In 1980, he was hired as a Physical Education and Aquatics teacher at Chesterton High School. Kevin's accomplishments as swim coach include: 53 boys' and girls' combined conference team championships; 51 IHSAA sectional championships; 51 IHSAA state championships; 18 Indiana high school state records; five Olympic trial swimmers; and one former CHS swimmer, Blake Pieroni, who made the Olympic team and won gold. Some highlights of his individual awards include: induction into the Indiana Swimming and Diving Hall of Fame 2007; 28 combined boys and girls Sectional Coach of the Year; Indiana High School State Swim coach of the year four times; National Boys' Swim Coach of the Year 2013; and 2016 Outstanding Service Award in Aquatics from the National Interscholastic Swim Coaches Association. Kevin will retire from Duneland Schools with 39 years of service.

Mike Koziczynski, Head Custodian - Chesterton High School (27 years). Mike began working for Duneland as a sub custodian and later became a contracted custodian at Liberty Middle School. In 1994, he became the head custodian at Jackson Elementary. In 1995, he worked in the Maintenance Department for one year before making a final move to the head custodian position at Chesterton High School where he has spent the last 22 years. In addition to his job, he has spent the last 10 years or so working on building sets and stages for the many memorable productions and events at the high school. Mike will retire from Duneland with 27 years of service. He has made many good friends over the years and has enjoyed working with wonderful students that have gone on to be successful adults.

Carol Navarre, Teacher - Yost Elementary School (15 years). Carol earned her bachelor's degree from Ohio State University in 1979, and her Master’s from Purdue University. Carol taught at Warren Elementary in Ohio and then stayed home to raise her children. She then transitioned back into education as a substitute at various schools in Ohio and North Carolina. When she moved to Indiana, Carol began working as a remediation aide at Yost Elementary for third grade before becoming a teacher in 2004. In 2012, she began teaching Kindergarten and her son then married her teaching partner. At the end of this school year, Carol will have completed 15 years in the Duneland Schools.

Brian Norris, Teacher - Jackson Elementary School (42 years). Brian has taught for the Duneland Schools for 42 years. He earned his undergraduate degree from Ball State University and his graduate degree from Purdue University. Brian began as a student teacher at both Bailly Elementary and Westchester Middle. In 1977, he received a contract to teach fourth grade at Brummitt Elementary. From 1987-93 he created and taught the Ready for Middle School summer program. He moved to fifth grade in 1979 and taught until 1992 when he became an administrative assistant at Brummitt. After 16 years at Brummitt, he moved to Jackson Elementary where he has taught every primary grade except kindergarten for the past 26 years. A few of his many accolades include coaching CHS Boys & Girls tennis for 10 years, DTA negotiations chairman for three years, and level coordinator at Brummitt for ten years and Jackson for 12 years. He was named a Teacher of Excellence by the Post Tribune in 2015 and has been honored five times as a most influential educator by CHS 5% Club seniors.

Bonnie Samilson, Head Custodian - Jackson Elementary School (35 years). Bonnie began working for Duneland Schools as a custodian at Jackson Elementary in Sept. of 1984. In 1993, she became the head custodian of the school. Over the years, she has enjoyed working with the faculty and staff members and interacting with the students. At the completion of this school year, Bonnie will have completed 35 years at Jackson Elementary.

Helene Trout, Instructional Aide - Bailly Elementary School (22 years). Helene began working at Chesterton High School in 1995 as a remediation aide prepping and administering ISTEP for the sophomore class. At the conclusion of testing that year Helene transferred to Bailly Elementary. She has worked as an instructional aide for every grade level at Bailly Elementary, except fifth grade when she finally found that second grade was her niche. She continued with the second grade team most of her career at Bailly in addition to subbing when funding was not available for her position. “Duneland will always be part of my family and I have the utmost respect for the Corporation and for the staff I have worked with.” Helene said. “Bailly and my team are awesome, but the students are ‘our’ core and I feel very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be part of their growth. It was never a "job" but a joy.



Posted 6/3/2019





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