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School Board Fills Fourth Grade Position

By Staff | Jun 1, 2011

In a special meeting of the Emmetsburg Community Schools Board of Education on May 26, members approved the hiring of a candidate for the fourth grade position at Emmetsburg West Elementary.

“We have a contract recommendation for Matt Geelan for the fourth grade position,” said Superintendent John Joynt. “He’s a recent graduate out of Briar Cliff University and a graduate of Emmetsburg High School. He has his reading endorsement and coaching authorization, and he’s excited to get started.”

Board Member Laure Egland asked where Geelan had practiced student teaching.

“Leeds Elementary in Sioux City,” Joynt answered.

“How big were his classes there?” asked Egland.

“Twenty-two or 23,” said Joynt. “I told him that he’d have a fairly large class. There might be 29 scheduled in there, but the class of 29 last year was only in there for the last five minutes of the day. Otherwise, it’s usually less than that because we split them up.”

Egland inquired, “He taught fourth grade there?”

“No, he taught fifth grade,” Joynt said.

“Do you think he’ll be strong in discipline?” Linda Tienter, board member, wondered.

“I think so. He’s no-nonsense, but I can tell just by talking to him you can tell that he feels compassionate for the kids,” said Joynt.

“You know we have two fairly new teachers here-Matt Geelan and Jennifer Vande Zande [both fourth grade teachers],” said Egland.

“Yes, she’ll be second year and he will be first year,” said Joynt. “I’m leaning towards having Deb Jurrens be in the fourth grade in the mornings down there to split up the reading groups. Her TAG duties would be later. She’s a kind of mentor to both.”

“Will he have a mentor?” asked Egland.

“Yes, he will have an official mentor,” Joynt said. “You can’t get a standard license without going through a mentor program.”

“I’m just concerned about this large of class size with such a new teacher,” said Egland.

Board member Steve Pelzer then made a motion to accept Matt Geelan as fourth grade teacher. The motion was seconded by Linda Tienter. The motion passed with Laure Egland providing the sole “Nay” vote.

In other business, the superintendent informed the board that there hasn’t been much interest from contractors in the ticket booth construction project at the high school.

“We either did it too late or they have other things going on,” Joynt shared. “One bid came in at $49,000, which is way out of line. The original estimate was $18,000. We can wait until later in the summer or wait until next year to bid it again.”

The board also briefly discussed the low participation numbers in softball and baseball for the 2011 season. A total of 26 girls (from eighth through twelfth grade) are playing softball, while 28 boys (from eighth through twelfth grade) are participating in baseball.

“My concern is when are we going to do something about this?” Egland asked.

“It’s a conference-wide thing. When I get the conference numbers, I’ll share them with you,” Principal Jay Jurrens noted, bringing the discussion to a close.