Five staff members from the Grant-Deuel School District have been hired by the Milbank School District. Grant-Deuel will close its doors at the end of this school term.
Janelle Wollschlager will be the new alternative/opportunity room instructor, filling the vacancy left by the retirement of Kathy Sussex. At Grant-Deuel, Wollschlager was a fifth grade teacher, language arts teacher and, most recently, a math teacher.
Leslie Tol, Lori Stricherz and Kari Schmeichel, all paraprofessionals, will fill paraprofessional roles in Milbank. Tol has experience as a preschool teacher from 2014 to 2016. Stricherz has worked as a paraprofessional in Grant-Deuel since 2010 and also has preschool experience. Schmeichel is currently a special education teacher at Grant-Deuel and has experience as an elementary computer teacher.
Cyndy Larsen will join the food service staff. She currently works in that department in Grant-Deuel and has worked closely with the Milbank food service staff this year. She also operated the LaBolt Cafe for several years.
Other new hires include: Courtany Sykora was hired as a kindergarten teacher for Koch School to replace Shelly Loehrer. Loehrer resigned due to health issues. Sykora is currently a student teacher in the Milbank district for Mrs. Bre Schwandt and was also a student teacher for Mrs. Loehrer in kindergarten last semester. She is from Beardsley, Minnesota and will graduate from Dakota State University in May.
Reba Thompson was hired as a first grade teacher at Koch School to replace Lindsey Keller. Keller resigned. Thompson is currently a third grade teacher in Redfield. She is a 2016 graduate of Dakota State University, and a native of Parker, South Dakota.
Melanie Schwandt was hired as a special education teacher. She is originally from Waubay and graduated from Northern State University in 2012. Schwandt resides in Milbank and is currently teaching at Enemy Swim Day School.
The board approved a new contract for Katie Gilmore as a first grade teacher at Koch School. The board first made a motion to rescind a previous motion to approve a leave of absence for Mrs. Gilmore, before approving a part-time contract for her position.
“We feel we worked out a good schedule that will work for students in first grade,” said Superintendent Graf. “Mrs. Gilmore will teach the core subjects of reading and math and also do some progress monitoring, flexible grouping, and grade level team time. She will be given a 55% time contract, which is just a little more than half-time.”
The board approved the reinstatement of a half-time migrant teacher and half-time ELL teacher position that was held by Christine Townsend. “A reduction in force was previously approved for the migrant educator position as we did not know who would be the fiscal agent for this program this year,” stated Graf. “After several conversations with the state, we are reinstating this position.” Following the reinstatement of the position, Townsend was approved as the Migrant/ELL teacher.
The board gave its approval for the resignation of Jerry Kathman as head maintenance/facilities manager. He has been in his position since 1985. “Although Jerry is retiring, he will continue his employment on a part-time basis,” stated Graf. “He will work almost exclusively in a supervisory capacity going forward, and we are happy to be able to keep him on staff. His institutional memory and his experience along with all of the relationships he has developed with service providers, trade industry contacts, and vendors is of great value to the district.”
As previously reported, approval was given by the school board to hire Logan Diede as technology director/teacher and head boys basketball coach, and Jade Miller as high school math teacher and C team boys basketball coach. An additional summer OST staff member, Isaac Fischer, was also approved for hire.
The board also approved out of state travel for the National HOSA contest, accepted the worker’s compensation fund participation agreement, and voted for Steve Moore of Watertown for Division II representative for the SDHSAA Board of Directors. They also voted “Yes” for SDHSAA Constitutional Amendment #1.