Three new teachers hired at Rock Hills this year
Today, Thursday, students who attend the USD 107 School system,
located in Mankato, will be starting their 2015-16 school year.
The students at the jr.-sr. high school will be attending classes of one completely new teacher and two familiar substitute teachers.
Kristin Underwood, Mankato, has been hired as a long term substitute first semester vo-ag teacher, and will also serve as advisor of the FFA organization. Kristin is a 1999 graduate of K-State with a degree in ag education and horticulture but has not taught for the past 11 years. This year she will be teaching in the morning only.
"Every ag teacher teachs differently. Some have a great interest in cement, maybe welding or small engines. I do know how to weld. As for the lesson plans most of it will be the same as I used 11 years, same basic guide. I live on a farm, am involved in the farming operation, and do run a green house. Maybe the students will have a project in town where the classes work together, a community involvement kind of thing," said Kristin.
As for FFA contest it depends on what the students are interested in.
"I am looking forward to contest and FFA again, working in the classroom, hands on teaching, implimenting my ideas into the classroom," said Kristin, who is married to Ervin Underwood. They have four children, Sam, 8th grader, Jacob, 6th grade, Aaron, 3rd grade, and Allison who is in pre-K.
Suzette Gile, Scandia, has been hired as a long term substitute first semester teacher for grades 10-12 English and Cloud County Community College English Comp I for the first semester.
"What this means is that I will teach the first semester and if no one applies or is hired for the second semester then I may get to stay and finish out the school year teaching English," said Suzette.
Suzette is originally from Beloit and her maiden name was Birdsell. She received her bachelor's degree in science from Fort Hays State University and her master's degree from St. Martins in Olympia, Wash. She was a full time teacher in 1999 at St. John's and Tipton, the rest of her teaching time has been as a substitute.
"I like substituting in the different classes, seeing the different students. I would have been happy being a full time student," said Suzette.
At the present time, Suzette is taking classes and hopefully will have an endorsement in English in the very near future.
Lauren Charles comes to USD 107 as a first year teacher of math for grades 9 through 12, will serve as the assistant high school volleyball coach and is head junior high girls basketball coach. She is a fall semester 2014 graduate of Hastings College with a degree in math education 7 through 12. Lauren went to Hastings College on a soccer scholarship after graduating high school at Longmont, Colo. Following her college graduation, Lauren was a substitute teacher of math at Hastings Public Schools. She was also the assistant coach of the junior high girls basketball team, a position she held for three years.
"I learned of Sam Meyers recruitment through Hastings College and knew he was a graduate of there as well. I grew up in a small school and I didn't care if I went to a small town and school. It didn't really matter to me, I just wanted to teach and coach," said Lauren.
While attending Hastings College Lauren coached a competitive girls basketball team that she started with as third graders and are now going into seventh grade.
Basketball and soccer are Lauren's favorite sports, and her favorite hobbie is sleeping. Lauren has two siblings, both brothers, one older and one younger.
"I look forward to meeting the students and parents, getting started for the school year in teaching and coaching," said Lauren.
Bob Roush, USD 107 district facilities director, gave a brief run down of projects completed over the summer months. The concrete wall at the elementary loading location has been completed with a handicap sidewalk now in place. The sewer line has also be replaced. At the jr.-sr. high the original contractors returned and have repaired the drainage in the north parking lot. General maintance of the gym floors have been completed. Most of the summer was spent with general maintenance, housekeeping, and mowing.
Bus routes are the same as last year, same drivers and routes. The regular route drivers are Larry McMains, Joe Colson, Becky Cockroft, Sherry Marr, Shannon Kussman. Special education drivers once again will be Michelle Schoenrock and Elaine Foster.
The last employees hired to fill vacant positions at USD 107 were Bethany Roe and Abby Elkins who will both serve as .5 play directors; Curt Christians and Trevor Elkins as high school assistant football coaches, Daphne Manning as high school forensics sponsor.
New Rock Hills teachers (from left) are Suzette Gile, Lauren Charles and Kristin Underwood.
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in Burr Oak proves clouds have silver linings
By Becky McNichols
Is the old adage, "every cloud has a silver lining," too trite to believe? Not for the Burr Oak Community Library. Last fall a series of events quickly unfolded in which the library was forced to leave its beautiful facility and face possible closure. The situation seemed hopeless, but the library had overcome vast obstacles in the past and chose to forge on. What lay ahead was nothing short of miraculous.
The library board considered a handful of available houses and buildings around the community, but none met ADA and space requirements without major, expensive renovation. They explored possible sources of funding from government entities, but were dismayed with the regulations, lengthy time frames and red tape that accompanied them. Therefore, the library board decided to turn to its supporters and embark on a fundraising campaign to build a simple, comfortable, beautiful, permanent home with private donations. The ambitious goal: $60,000 by January.
Donation request letters were sent out in September to residents and landowners in the library's four township district, plus many outside of the district that use or support the library. Private donations totaling $25,000 poured in within two months. This amount was matched by the Mark A. Chapman Foundation of Sealy, Texas. Born in Broughton, Kan., Mark Chapman was a generous philanthropist and supporter of educational projects in his home state. He was also a landowner in the library's district.
The library applied for and received a $10,000 competitive facilities grant from the Central Kansas Library System. This grant was the largest award in 2014 to any library in the 17 counties in central Kansas that it serves. It was specifically used for site and foundation work for the new building.
The project received its largest gift in November 2014 when it was awarded a $67,000 grant from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation. Located in Logan, the Dane G. Hansen Foundation serves 26 counties in northwest Kansas. The new library fits well with the foundation's commitment to education and to providing opportunities for the people of northwest Kansas to enjoy the highest possible quality of life.
An anonymous "Thanksgiving challenge" was issued in November to match any contributions up to $10,000 between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Just days before the deadline, another anonymous donor matched the "Thanksgiving challenge" in full, and created a new matching grant dubbed the "New Year's challenge" for an additional $10,000. Supporters once again stepped up to the plate and raised the $10,000 match by early February. In addition, the library received $2,500 from Monsanto's America's Farmers Grow Communities program, through local farmer, Kelly McNichols. All of these contributions, along with thousands of dollars donated by local businesses and individuals, far surpassed the original goal.
Last Fall the Burr Oak City Council voted to give the Burr Oak Community Library four lots on the east side of the block containing the historic Limestone School (across the street west from the Methodist Church). It is a wonderful location on which to build a new library with plenty of room for parking and ADA accessibility. Adjacent to the library lots is a large, grassy area and a playground owned by the city.
Plans commenced to build a 40 x 80 facility with an open layout incorporating separate adult and child sections, a meeting space, theater and gaming area, computer stations and a bumped-up ceiling to accommodate the library's reading loft. An architect generously donated his time to design the building. Energy efficiency is of utmost importance in the design, both for environmental responsibility and future sustainability. The entire facility will be ADA compliant, with doorways, restroom layout and shelf spacing accessible to all. The restroom doubles as a FEMA storm shelter. The exterior concrete work will include a handicap parking space with direct access to the front entry. Additional parking will be on the north and east sides, with access from streets on the east and south.
Hundreds of hours of work from volunteers and local contractors has moved the project along swiftly. Site work and the foundation for the new facility were completed in May and the framing began immediately after. By July 1 the shell was complete. Roofing, siding, doors and windows were installed by Aug. 1. Mechanical systems are currently underway inside the building. Plans are to be open to the public by early 2016.
Because of the generosity of private foundations, local businesses and many individual supporters, the library is now in great shape to move forward with bright plans for the future. What began as a devastating disappointment has turned into an exciting opportunity. Clouds do have silver linings. Miracles still happen.
Randall receives grant for new community center
The Dane G. Hanson Foundation has awarded the Randall Community
Center project $25,000 toward the building of the proposed center.
Added to the present amount raised by donations and pledges of $18,525, the project is moving forward. Two other grants are in process and more donations or pledges are being received.
The Randall City Council and members of the project committee met last Monday evening to determine the specs needed for the building with the hope the building's basic structure will be erected this fall. A number of contractors were sent the specifications and invited to bid. When the bids are received, the committee will meet again, select a contractor and proceed with the new building on the east side of Randall's Main Street.
Those who have donated or pledged their financial support to date are: Ocie Miller, Pat McMurray, Randall Senior Citizens, Gloria Hanson, Neva Ebling, Jay McGaughey, Norma Clark, Jill and Mike Ramsey, Fawna Barrett, Dawna Greene, Dan Sullivan, Sharon Tullar, M.K. May, Midway Co-op, Marion Sadler, Dixie Nickell, Betty James, Betty and Gordon Kibbe, Tony Thornton, Larry and Carol Flinn, Seleise Barrett, Kenneth Kibbe, Carolyn Henning, Guaranty State Bank, Terry Behrends, Jewell American Legion Auxiliary, Susan Hinkhouse, Larry Elniff, Natalie Wood, Donna Trussell, Dennis and Nancy Layton, Bill Spiegel, Kyle Barrett, Ila McElroy, Opal McElroy, Judy Zimmer, Cliff and Nevada Vetter, Leota Clawson, Roberta Holdren, Progressive Study Club, Joan Forrest, and Mary (Spiegel) Woerner.
Undersheriff reports loss of a deputy
The Jewell County Board met Monday with commissioners Mark
Fleming, Steve Greene and Dwight Frost present. Carla Waugh, county
clerk, was also present.
Shannon Meier, ambulance director, had several quotes on used vehicles to replace the Durango. No action was taken.
The commissioners approved the employment agreement with Travis Garst, the new solid waste director.
The commissioners appointed Jason Nelson, Washington Township treasurer; Jared Nelson, Washington Township clerk and Jerod Kinsey, Washington Township trustee.
Undersheriff Don Jacobs said they will be testing the 911 lines later this month. He also reported that Mike Perrie gave notice that his last day will be Aug. 31 as he accepted employment elsewhere.
Joel Elkins, general superintendent, discussed maintenance. The commissioners reported road concerns.
Gail Bartley reported on the meeting with FEMA representatives.
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