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Friday, May 6, 2016

GCSC filling vacancies, schedules

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Jennifer Shepherd
The first day of school comes with a lot of behind-the-scenes scrambling by school administrators to make sure the groundwork for a successful school year is in place.

This year has been no exception for Greencastle Community Schools.

Meeting on the first day of school, the school board approved a number of last-minute personnel changes Wednesday evening.

The board accepted the resignation of four teachers and the retirement of one other, but also filled a number of those positions as well as some pre-existing openings.

The board accepted resignations from a total of six different employees: Mike Schimpf as high school English teacher and boys' track coach, Sara Diekelman as high school math teacher and junior class sponsor, Steve Bell as middle school math teacher, Nicole Smith as special services teacher at Tzouanakis and Elizabeth Anderson and Debby Scott as Deer Meadow instructional assistants.

Diana Callahan also retired as Tzouanakis literacy coordinator.

In their place, though, are three teacher hires and five instructional assistants.

New teachers for the year are Kodie Burroughs as high school English teacher, Tiffany Grabinski as Tzouanakis fourth grade teacher and Samantha Burke as high school math teacher.

Additionally, Jennifer Richards Zigler was hired as guidance counselor at the high school, following the June resignation of Shannon Fritz.

Superintendent Lori Richmond said the faculty is nearly fully staffed, with the hire of one math and one science teacher remaining.

"We have most of them filled," Richmond said, "and I am very pleased with the quality of our new teachers."

Starting with professional development days on Monday and Tuesday, Richmond said the new staff members were engaged and energetic.

Joining the faculty in the classroom will be the five new instructional assistants: Elizabeth Barnett, Dee Sanchez and Kyle Faletic at the middle school and Lisa Torrence and Sarah Quasebarth at Deer Meadow.

One other big adjustment on the first day was that of the high school to a new principal. Jennifer Shepherd described herself as "peachy" following the first student day.

"It was exciting. It was energetic," Shepherd said. "And it was a little overwhelming to everybody -- not me personally, necessarily."

One challenge facing the high school has been operating with only one counselor. Bill Smith has been operating alone in the absence of Fritz, and Shepherd said praised his efforts.

"Bless his heart," she said. "He has been working long hours."

While Wednesday was hectic, the principal said she believes the guidance staff has everyone placed in their classes. She said the next goals are to address any graduation requirement issues and balancing class size as much as possible.

Shepherd said the addition of Zigler will be of great help. The principal may also be lending a hand in the guidance office this week.

"I would ask parents for patience with the schedule," Shepherd said. "We've had a lot of parents frustrated and I feel bad about that."

One other stressor for students will not be going away anytime soon.

Shepherd has made a renewed effort to enforce a number of school policies that may have been relaxed in the past. She and Assistant Principal Russ Hesler plan to hold students to higher standards in terms of tardiness, absenteeism, the school dress code and electronic devices.

"We're tightening up. I feel these are life lessons," Shepherd said. "You can only be late to work so many times, so why can you be late to school a bazillion times?"

She asked for parents help on ensuring students wear appropriate attire.

"I know parents are also concerned about the dress code but I need them to be engaged in what their kids are wearing," Shepherd said.

She also praised the dedication of her teachers and recent upgrades and painting in the school, for which she thanked Teachers Credit Union.

"I'm very happy to be here," Shepherd said. "I'm excited. I'm having a lot of fun."

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I wish Michael Schimpf the best wherever he is going. It is certainly a loss to the community when we lose a teacher of his ability and dedication. I hope he found a principal's job somewhere, but it is too bad it couldn't be here.

-- Posted by rosco&ginger on Thu, Aug 9, 2012, at 11:39 AM

Amen to rosco&ginger's statement

-- Posted by kbmom on Thu, Aug 9, 2012, at 1:47 PM

Tremendous loss for both the English Dept. and the boys track team. He is taking a step up in his career and I wish Mike well. We certainly will miss him.

-- Posted by lkcrawle on Thu, Aug 9, 2012, at 9:15 PM

I am still waiting for a Geometry teacher! Wish they would find one so other math teachers aren't giving up their lunch to teach a class.

-- Posted by jminglert2 on Thu, Aug 9, 2012, at 10:45 PM

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