A pair of faculty vacancies were filled last Wednesday evening during a special meeting of the Emmetsburg Community School Board. The action came as part of a special meeting to conduct interviews for two of the candidates for the district's superintendent's vacancy.
Assistant Principal Tracie Christensen presented the recommendations for employment, starting with the Middle School Special Education position.
"We are recommending Jonathan Werstein for the position," Christensen said, "He is finishing his first year in the classroom at Aldo Leopold Middle School in Burlington."
Werstein is completing his Masters Degree in Special Education from Mount Mercy College, and is also endorsed as a Strategist II Learning Disability/Behavioral Disability endorsement, as well as Social Sciences.
"He is also very proficient in technology, which will benefit our district and has aligned his curriculum in math, science and social studies with the Iowa Core, which will also be a great benefit to our district. His educational experience and enthusiasm to be involved in the district and community will be a great addition to our district," Christensen added.
"For the high school position, we are recommending Rebecca Kjellsen. She has been teaching five years in the Canton, SD schools and is in the process of moving to Spirit Lake," Christensen noted. "She has experience in co-teaching along with a special education instructor and has a great understanding of the general education classroom and what the expectations are for students."
Kjellsen is also well-versed in technology, and has also worked with placing students in jobs in the community.
"Rebecca will be a great addition to our staff with her educational experience and enthusiasm to be involved in the district and the community," Christensen concluded.
"I don't know," commented Board President BJ Schany. "I have a bad feeling about an instructor living in Spirit Lake, and if they would have an opening, we would lose them. I just like to see our teachers live here and be a part of our community."
"Is that something we can do?" asked Board member Scott Kibbie. "Give these new teachers information on living here in Emmetsburg, so the new teachers can see we have things to offer here, rather than having them live 25 or 30 miles away?"
Superintendent John Joynt assured the board that such information is shared with new hires in all cases. "We do take them on a tour of the community, show them the golf course, Wellness Center, POET, things like that."
With no further comment, Board member Tammy Naig moved to approve the hirings as recommended, and the motion passed on a 6-0 vote with Board member Kim Campbell absent and not voting.
The board also accepted the resignation of Janie Eischen as she has accepted a similar position with the Area Education Agency in Pocahontas.