By Ralph Echtinaw
School board members approved three new hires Monday as the district prepares for the 2022-23 school year that beings Aug. 29.
Among the resignations accepted Monday were that of Stephanie Binder, an SLHS alum who returned to teach and spent the last eight years as principal of Carrie Knause Elementary. Binder, whose husband Eugene is principal of Nikkari Elementary, has taken an office job in Mt. Pleasant schools.
She will be replaced at Carrie Knause by Amy King, 42, who taught in Shepherd schools for five years and Ithaca schools for 15 years.
Also joining the district for the new school year are first grade teacher Jeremiah Buchanan, 38, and high school physical education/health teacher Andrew Wawersik, 24. Wawersik is a Shepherd High School and Central Michigan University graduate who taught one year in Harrison schools before taking the job in St. Louis.
The board accepted several resignations, too: High school physical education/health teacher Adam Landis, middle school library parapro Ashley Martin, assistant varsity football coach John Stovall and middle school girls basketball coaches Robert Morris and Scott Davis.
Superintendent Jennifer McKittrick told board members (less John Pavlik and Billy Bosquez, who were absent) that she is still looking for a teacher to fill a special education job at the high school. “We have a possibility of a situation tomorrow but it’s going to (depend on) certifications and things of that nature,” she said. “This (job) has been posted since June, and I’m appreciative of the principals for getting creative to find ways that we can fill it.”
Improvements and other changes
Workers have been busy this summer installing outdoor electric signs at all schools, improving the video surveillance system, re-roofing the middle school, upgrading the lighting in the elementary buildings and painting classrooms among other things.
Teachers begin to return on Tuesday, Aug. 23, a day reserved for professional development of probationary teachers (with three years experience or less). The remaining teachers return on Aug. 24 and 25.
Students will see several new faces on the faculty when they return, including elementary gym teacher Thomas Judge, fourth grade teacher Brook Maxwell, middle school special ed teacher Dylan Guitierrez, elementary special ed teacher Railey Sebolt, elementary STEM teacher Ryan Hollar, seventh grade geography teacher Olivia Potoczak, Carrie Knause kindergarten teacher Briann Alspaugh, Nikkari social emotional teacher Brogan Holmes, high school science teachers Michaela Austin and Matthew Albano, fifth grade teacher Dawn Russell and middle school geography teacher Joshua Kaylor.
Open houses at the high school and Nikkari are on Wednesday, Aug. 24. Open houses at Carrie Knause and the middle school are on Thursday, Aug. 25.
A “community tailgate” is scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25, to be followed by a football game.
The first day of school is Monday, Aug. 29, with early release. There will be no school on Sept. 2 and 5 “and then we are full bore for fall, ready to kick it off,” McKittrick said.
Board member Don Kelley asked McKittrick how enrollment numbers look.
“Enrollment has been pretty steady,” she said. “But I don’t know exactly until the first day of school (when) and all my drops go and all my adds come. So then I can get accurate numbers of where we’re at. But we’ve seen some families leave and other families come.”
Upcoming school board election
Only one non-incumbent will be on the school board ballot in November. That would be David D. Mossner of St. Louis. Mossner challenges incumbent Carrie Salladay for the seat. Also running is Billy Bosquez, who was appointed to the board in June following the resignation of Jeff Baxter. Bosquez is unopposed in the election.