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Schools hire two more teachers

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At its July 14 meeting, the Yellow Springs school district filled the final two teaching positions needed before school starts next month. At the meeting, the board approved the hiring of Steve Rossi as the athletic director and Jeff Collins as the math and physics teacher for Yellow Springs High School and the McKinney school. The new faculty members bring the total number of faculty and staff members hired for the district this year to nine.

Rossi was officially approved as the director of athletics and student leadership. He was given a two-year contract for the part-time position compensated at $25,000 for 210 days a year. Rossi is currently the assistant athletic director of Cincinnati public schools and comes with strong recommendations from YSHS track coach and former principal John Gudgel.

While Collins has never taught physics or any other subject in the classroom, he also comes with strong recommendations from Superintendent Mario Basora, who interviewed him for the position. Collins is currently program manager of the Nehemiah Foundation, an advocacy group for underprivileged youth in the Springfield and Dayton region. He holds a B.S. in math and aeronautics and a masters in secondary education and is currently certified to teach math. Collins also plans to acquire a supplemental license to teach physics. He was hired on a one-year contract for the full-time position.

“Jeff has never taught in the classroom, but he’s worked with kids after school as a tutor in math and science…he’s driven to help kids,” Basora said during the board meeting. “His interpersonal skills are incredible, and I feel he’ll be very successful.”

In total this year the district has hired nine faculty and staff members to replace six teachers and staff who retired last year and fill other positions that were vacated. In addition to the most recent positions, the other positions that have already been filled include assistant to the principal, special education director, gifted intervention specialist, gifted coordinator, district P.E. teacher, YSHS/McKinney study hall/behavior intervention aide and YSHS/McKinney secretary.

In other school board business:

• The board approved one-year contracts for Clayton Wolfe as head football coach for the YSHS and eighth grade teams, and Joey Bailey as assistant coach to both football teams; Nick Cunningham as fitness center supervisor; Vince Peters and Isabelle and Peter Dierauer as head and volunteer cross country coaches; Jim Hardman and Ben Van Ausdal as head and assistant boys soccer coaches, Angelo Caliguiri and Adrian Cosby as head and assistant girls soccer coaches; Mike Reichert as the golf coach; Lindsay Kerns, William Stewart, Clayton Brady and Christine Linkhart as head, reserve and eighth and seventh grade volleyball coaches; Bonita Pence as football and basketball cheerleading advisor

• The board approved one-year limited contracts for substitute teachers, aides, secretaries and bus drivers Emily Bolen, Mark Franks, Elizabeth Heinig, Nan Meekin, John Robey, Tricia Tallman, Rebecca Traeger, Gary Wilkinson, Marjorie Reeb, Donna Smalt and Vince Peters.

• District Treasurer Dawn Weller presented a review of the 2010–11 fiscal year. In 2011 the district brought in a total of $6.99 million and spent $8.376 million. While the actual deficit spending for the 2010–11 fiscal year was $803,000, the district had a surplus of cash from the bond issue for facility renovations that buoyed the district’s cash flow and forced it to use just $550,000 of the district’s cash carry-over to balance the budget. The district had budgeted to use $440,000 of the carryover.

• Basora reported the results of the biannual survey of the district’s special education program: of nearly 40 respondents, 82 percent were satisfied with the district’s performance (up from 78 percent in 2009), including 95 percent for Mills Lawn, 66 percent at McKinney and 57 percent at YSHS. The percent of respondents who felt prepared for life after high school dropped from 46 percent in 2009 to 38 percent this year. The district will post the survey results on its Web site this week.

• Basora gave an update on state budget, which mandates that by the 2013–14 school year, 50 percent of teacher evaluations must be based on student performance. An additional provision (whose enforcement date has not yet been established) states that districts will be prohibited from basing reductions in force (teacher layoffs) on seniority; rather staffing decisions must be based on performance.

• The district received a preliminary state report card, which rated the district excellent but did not give it distinction because the school did not make “adequate yearly progress,” according to Basora during the meeting. More details on the report card are forthcoming.

• Former YSHS Principal John Gudgel proposed a project to refurbish the high school’s all-weather track, which was resurfaced from cinder to all-weather (recycled rubber tires) in 2001 at a cost of $115,000. This time the resurfacing is expected to cost about $32,000, Gudgel said during the meeting. A fundraising group has collected nearly $10,000 and has applied for more support from local foundations and donors. The track is used by both YSHS and McKinney school curricular and extra-curricular activities, as well as the Greene County Educational Services Center, Miami Valley Track Club, the Yellow Springs Police Department and local residents. The group hopes to raise the funds by the fall and bid out the one-week job.

• The board accepted $4,937 in donations to start the John Gudgel Scholarship Fund. YSHS senior Stephanie Scott received the scholarship this year to attend Purdue University.

• The Class of 2020 strategic planning initiative steering committee met on June 27 to evaluate the past year’s data. They also selected task forces for the district’s three guiding priorities for the coming year, including quality teachers to enhance learning (led by Dawn Weller), curriculum integration and change (led by Mario Basora) and financial security (led by school board president Sean Creighton).


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