Chesterton Tribune



School Board hires new assistant superintendent; teachers introduced

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At yesterday’s Duneland School Board meeting, the Board announced it has hired Robert McDermott as Duneland Schools new Assistant Superintendent for Compliance and a slew of new teachers were introduced.

McDermott was most recently the Director of Student Services and School Safety for the Crown Point Community School Corporation and is a nine-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force.

McDermott earned undergraduate and masters degrees at the University of Texas at Arlington and earned his Educational Specialist degree and superintendent license from Indiana State University. He has more than 20 years of experience in school administration, having also been an assistant principal, principal, and director of personnel and labor relations. He was one of the first educators in Indiana to be certified as a school safety specialist in 1999 and has been chairman for the Lake County Safe Schools Commission and an appointed member of the State of Indiana School Safety Advisory Council.

McDermott said he is “looking forward to working with the Board and the staff here to make Duneland the best school system it can be.”

New Teachers

Liberty Elementary Principal David Alvarado announced Charity Scollon is joining Liberty as a second grade teacher. Alvarado said Scollon has years of experience in first and second grade classrooms.

Westchester Intermediate Principal Shawn Longacre announced Ezra Burke will be replacing Kathy Telligman as a fifth grade teacher at WIS. Longacre said Burke has big shoes to fill, but he’s a leader who has been at the forefront of initiatives such as the special education PTO, transition fair, and mix-it-up day at WIS.

Burke thanked the board and said he’s been in Duneland for seven years, and he’s never felt more a part of a school community than he has here.

Three new teachers at CMS are: Hannah Walter, Kristen McMurtrey, and Joy Ichiyama-Nihipali. Walter will take over business and computer teaching, McMurtrey will teach English, and Ichiyama-Nihipali will teach Science. Walter has a masters degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. McMurtrey has a bachelor’s from Purdue University, taught at Merrillville, and is a founding member of the NWI Coalition for Public Education. Ichiyama-Nihipali has a masters from Valparaiso University and comes from Griffith, where she was instrumental in starting Project Lead the Way.

Five new teachers at CHS are: Mike Koziczynski, Kevin Ortiz, Matt Pavlovich, Danyelle Vivian, and Kelly Bonich.

Koziczynski is a former head custodian at DSC who is coming back as an industrial tech/ETE teacher as part of the construction pathway at CHS. Kevin Ortiz is a new industrial tech/ETE teacher taking over the building trades program. Pavlovich has taught in Merillville and Munster and comes to CHS to teach physical education. Vivian joins as a math teacher, and will be an “excellent addition to the math department,” according to CHS Principal Brent Martinson. Bonich is a former Duneland employee returning to teach English.

Another new administrator was named last night: Heidi Hennigar is the new Dean of Students at WIS. Hennigar is a 1999 CHS grad who was chosen from a field of “extremely competitive” internal and external candidates for the newly formed position. Longacre said he’s excited for what the new position can bring to DSC.

Hennigar has taught for 16 years at Yost Elementary, where she served as assistant principal for 10 years. Hennigar said she’s loved Duneland so much, she’s glad she doesn’t have to leave for a new opportunity. “I’m incredibly excited I’ll get to effect more change in the long run,” she added.

Other Personnel Moves

The Board also approved the following personnel moves:


--Lori Tarnowski was appointed media secretary at Yost.

--Matt Pavlovich was appointed varsity boys and girls swimming coach at CHS.

--Terrie Campbell and Yvonne Clancy were appointed Title 1 aides at Bailly.

--Kimberly Bogue was appointed transportation dispatcher for DSC.

--David Kurz and Janet Wismiller were appointed drivers for DSC.

--Chris Meyne was appointed head custodian for DSC.

--Anna Rinchak was appointed custodian for DSC.


--Sarah Fratto resigned as sixth grade teacher at WIS.

--Heidi Hennigar resigned as kindergarten teacher at Yost.

--Jodi Craig resigned as driver for DSC.

--Susan O’Connell resigned as JV softball coach at CHS.

--Patrick Ward and Hollis Williams resigned as assistant swim coaches at CHS.



Posted 8/6/2019





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