In a meeting heavy on personnel action, the Community Unit School District 7 Board of Education on Monday night rehired tenured and non-tenured teachers for the 2022-23 school year, and voted to post vacant teaching positions for summer school classes set to begin in a few weeks.
On a motion by Jennie Alepra, seconded by Jack Burns, the board voted unanimously to rehire the district’s entire roster of tenured teachers for next school year. In separate actions, the board rehired and offered to tenure to nine teachers who will be teaching their fifth year in the district next year, and voted unanimously to rehire 13 non-tenured teachers.
Tenured teachers re-employed for the upcoming school year are: Tracy Petersen, Lorraine Strutner, Jody Dunn, Leanna Sawyer, Melissa Bussmann, Tracy Hostettler, Darrick Oran, Kara Saracco, Kelly Lons, Holly Nejmanowski, Jennifer Parker, Anastasia Henderson, Cate Plovich, Amy Price, Nice Barrett, Jessi Luketich, Mindy Savant, Karissa Smith, Beth Sees, Valerie Jubelt, Carrie Scott, Dana Tie-in, Sharon Wernle, Marcia Johns, Colleen Favre, Celia Jubelt, Jami Schmid, Nancy Schmidt, Lori Emmons, Vanessa Barrett, Amy Gerdes, Beth Roll, Kim Henderson, Christina Blevins, Jacob Bilbruck, Casey Edgerton, Kyle Lamore, Stephanie Wilson, Tammy Garde, Matt Brawner, Jeremy Smith Jarrod Herron, Rachelle Prough, Stephanie Bray, Kaitie Prange, Robert Macias, Casey Sholtis, Jennifer Brown, Jeff Nehls, Mark Goldasich, Troy Barker, Michelle Smith, Holley McFarland, Michael Bertagnolli, Mary Kirk, Nichole Stoecker, Amy Goldasich, Daniel Edgerton, Ashlee Gibbs, Zachary Simon, Stuart Ringer, Kelly Bulla and Whitney Page.
The following teachers were rehired as fifth-year teachers and placed on tenure for the 2022-23 school year: Nathan Henrichs, elementary teacher; Allison McElroy, elementary teacher; Shanna Conner, middle school English and language arts teacher; Elizabeth Thackery, middle school math teacher; Kayla Wills, high school agriculture teacher; Eric Bogle, business education teacher; Amanda Dugger, special education teacher; Nikki Brawner, art teacher; and Kevin McNicholas, district social worker.
Non-tenured teachers rehired for the 2022-23 school year are: Amber Allan, fourth-year elementary teacher; Lisa Ballinger, fourth year; Nikki Zenner, second year; Katie Lieveers, second year; Alex Plovich, second year; Pete Visintin, second year; Jay Weber, second year; Madi Whittington, second year; Jacob West, third year physical education teacher; Chase Peterson, fourth year middle school math; Jessica Kelly, fourth year middle school resource teacher; Korben Clark, fourth year high school science teacher; and Jill Strole, fourth year school counselor.
In other personnel action, the board accepted the resignation of Alex Weinberg, middle school/high school choir instructor and sound technician, effective at the end of the current school year and posted a vacancy for the position. Board members also accepted the resignation of Gillespie Middle School paraprofessional Emily Barylske and posted the position as vacant.
Board members voted unanimously to post vacant summer school positions for high school English, math and behind-the-wheel drivers’ education; middle school math and English; and six elementary teaching positions. Also in preparation for the summer school program, the board voted to post vacancies for two food service workers.
The board accepted the resignations of Korben Clark and Jarrod Herron as volunteer assistant high school football coaches. The board also voted to hire Cory Bonstead, Nathan Wise and Sam Mount as assistant high school football coaches for the coming season.
John Q. Halteman and Ryan Bussmann were hired as assistant coaches for the district’s newly created bass fishing program. Jake Killebrew was hired as an assistant varsity boys basketball coach. Darian Gill was hired as the high school cheerleading coach for the 2022-23 school year. Jacob West was hired as an assistant high school track and field coach. Matt Brawner was hired as a high school volunteer assistant girls basketball coach. Andrea Williamson was hired as a prom sponsor.
High School Principal Jill Rosentreter presented a brief District Focus segment focusing on the accomplishments and future plans of outstanding Gillespie High School seniors. Rosentreter had brought into the board room several art projects created by Brynn Baker, Zoe Lewis and Candace Borror, all of whom won Gold Key awards at the Mid-Central Illinois Regional Scholastic Art Show. Both Lewis and Borror were American Vision nominees invited to participate in the next level of competition.
Baker also was recognized for being selected for a national safe driving public service announcement competition. Board members viewed a professionally produced video of Baker’s commercial concept. In it a Safe Driving Superhero patrolled traffic and corrected dangerous situations and practices. Baker was one of three students nationwide whose concepts were selected for production. Baker participated vicariously in the production process via the internet. Producers in California found a young actor who resembled Baker to play the part of the Superhero.
Board members also viewed an audition video Alex Pelt, who has been accepted to attend SIU-Edwardsville, prepared as an audition for the Bi-State Music Competition. For the audition, Pelt played a flute solo.
Also during the presentation, Rosentreter showed the board photos of construction trades students with projects completed this year. She said most of the projects went to the students’ homes, some were donated to local institutions such as the Gillespie Police Department, and some are available for sale to members of the public.
Rosentreter summarized the number of seniors who have committed to joining military branches after graduation, the number of seniors who have been accepted to universities, colleges and trade schools and listed the institutions Gillespie High School graduates will attend next year.
MOUNT OLIVE COOP
Without taking formal action, the board declined to consider a proposal from the Mount Olive School District to create a cooperative athletic program for golf. Supt. Shane Owsley reported that Mount Olive wanted to be the host school, meaning CUSD 7 golfers would have to be bused to Mount Olive for practices.
Owsley said CUSD 7 identified 16 students from 8th grade to seniors who were interested in pursuing golf as a sport. “All of them said they would prefer to remain Miners,” Owsley said.
Mount Olive currently has only two students participating in golf.
Given the disparity in the numbers of student golfers and other factors, the board declined to consider the proposal.
“My recommendation would be to continue with the status quo and continue to field our own team,” Owsley said.
On a motion by Alepra, seconded by Hayes, the board voted unanimously to accept the bid of M & M Service Co. to supply fuel for the fiscal year. M & M provided a locked-in price of $3.57 per gallon for diesel and $3.35 for gasoline.
EARLY GRADUATION REQUESTS
On a motion by Weye Schmidt, seconded by Burns, the board voted unanimously to approve early graduation requests submitted by Alicia Albers, Kyleigh Blankley, Hunter Blevins, Ian Brown, Hailey Rhodes, Julie Jackson, Makayla Kirby, Emma Livengood, Emmarie Moutin, Mary Parkins, Dawson Royer, Mya Stewart, Devon Williams, Loralei Clark and Evan Webb providing all graduation credits and requirements are met.
In other action, the board:
- Adopted a schedule for regular meetings of the board for May of this year through April 2023. Generally, the board will meet in executive session at 6 p.m. with open session beginning at 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month, except for December when the board will meet on the third Monday to accommodate the winter break.
- Voted to renew the district’s membership in the Illinois High School Association, the governing body for high school athletics. Earlier in the meeting, Owsley reported that IHSA planned to refund dues high schools paid during the COVID-19 pandemic. Membership normally is free of charge but the organization imposed dues during the pandemic because state and regional championships were canceled.
- Voted to enter into an intergovernmental agreement with Lewis and Clark Community College to offer dual credit courses, permitting students to earn college credits recognized by LCCC while still in high school.