Several faculty and coaching vacancies were filled during a special meeting of the Emmetsburg Community School District Board of Directors Tuesday morning, April 8. The new faculty members have a decided local tie to the district, as three of the four instructors attended school in Emmetsburg as youths.
West Elementary Principal Joe Carter briefed the board on the three recommendations for positions at West.
"We had over 100 applications for our two third grade positions," Carter explained, and we whittled that number down to six to 10 individuals. The Building Leadership Team and I then worked that list down to six people that we interviewed, and they were given an opportunity to actually present to a class. Of the six we interviewed, four had previous experience."
Carter paused. "For the first position, we would recommend Bill Geelan, who is currently teaching at Emmetsburg Catholic. He is from Ruthven and attended Briar Cliff. He is also recommended for the Freshman Baseball coaching position and has experience in our system, as he has been a volunteer in our basketball program for two years."
"The second recommendation is for Katie Heddinger, who is currently teaching at Graettinger-Terril. She is an Emmetsburg grad and graduated from UNI. She did her student teaching at West and was a high finalist for a position last year. Both Katie and Bill were tremendous in the performance part of the interview and both have great passion for teaching and working with our young people."
For the pre-school position, Carter noted that over 50 applications had been received. "We brought that number down to six to 10 people and the BLT finally picked four to interview," Carter said. "We would recommend Ellie Garrelts for the position. She attended Emmetsburg and is doing her student teaching before graduating from Morningside. She will be very good with the pre-school."
Carter then turned to the remaining two coaching vacancies, and recommended Tim Rodemeyer to assume the Varsity Volleyball position. "Tim has been our Freshman and JV volleyball coach and he has a great vision for our program moving forward."
For the Freshman softball coaching position, Carter recommended Hillary Pico. "Hillary is attending UNI and she coached our seventh and eighth graders in Pony League last year. She also played for Coach Birkey here in Emmetsburg and will also do a fine job."
"Are we adding a third grade position?" asked Board Member Scott Kibbie.
"Mrs. Schany is moving to second grade to take over Christy White's position, which opened up one third grade position, and we are adding a second section because of that large group of 70 students," Carter answered.
High School Principal Fred Matlage then briefed the board on the choice for the Middle School Math position being vacated when Ted Riley retires at the end of the school year.
"We had a total of 23 applicants for the position and eventually interviewed four people for the position," Matlage said. "Three applicants had experience and it would be our recommendation to hire Kelly Swanson. She is an Emmetsburg native, and has taught at Ruthven-Ayrshire for the past 13 years. She also has a special ed endorsement, which would be very beneficial for us as well."
With no further questions, Kibbie moved to approve the recommendations for employment and with a second from Board Member Rick Brennan, the new hires were approved unanimously on a 6-0 vote, with Board Member Kim Campbell absent and not voting.
In a final discussion before adjourning, the board discussed how to proceed with the search for a superintendent to replace John Joynt, who is taking early retirement at the end of the school year. Joynt noted he had some basic information from three professional search firms across the state, but that he had also been contacted by Jeff Herzberg, Administrator of Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency, who has also offered to assist in a search.
"I was contacted by Marty Fonley from Algona," noted Board President BJ Schany. "He has been mentoring Terry Hemann at Spencer since he came back to the state, and the two of them would also be willing to help out in a search."
While no formal decision was made, the board was in general agreement to contact Herzberg to start with, rather than looking to a larger firm a long distance away.