04-04-2019 Seager signs superintendent contract following Watervliet school board OK

Seager signs superintendent contract following Watervliet school board OK

By Kristy Noack A special meeting Thursday evening by the Watervliet Public Schools Board of Education resulted in Ric Seager being approved as the district’s newest superintendent.

MAKING IT OFFICIAL… Watervliet Public Schools’ board of education president Bill Spaulding, left, signs the three-year employment contract for the position of superintendent as offered to Ric Seager, right, March 28, 2019. Witnessing Spaulding’s signature is board secretary Matt Clay, center. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


Seager’s contract is for a three-year period beginning July1 when he assumes the role from interim superintendent Dr. John Jarpe, who filled the role following the departure of longtime district teacher, principal and superintendent Kevin Schooley. Schooley accepted the superintendent position at South Haven Area Schools in December.Following the signing of contract, Jarpe commented, “It’s a very fair contract and was very easily negotiated with Mr. Seager.” He also complimented the board, stating, “What I admire about the board was they got out in front [of Schooley’s departure] early. Getting somebody before spring break is a huge advantage.” Seager will depart Schoolcraft (MI) High School where he has been the high school principal since January 2015. Prior to that, he served as the director of school improvement and assessment at Kalamazoo Public Schools from 2010 to 2015. He also spent six years as the principal at Bronson Junior/Senior High and was a teacher at Belding Area Schools. Mr. Seager holds a Master of Science degree in curriculum, instruction and assessment from Walden University, as well as a Master of Science in Educational Administration and Supervision from Western Michigan University. According to Seager, he and his wife Amy will be relocating to the Watervliet area soon. The Seagers have three adult children. “I’m thrilled to be part of the Watervliet Schools community. It’s an outstanding school district. I’m looking forward to getting to know people and their perspective and letting them get to know mine,” Seager shared following the meeting.

Van Buren County Museum prepares for 2019 season

While the residents of Van Buren County and the surrounding counties have been wintering where it is warm, or have been putting on that extra blanket, the volunteers and board members of the Van Buren County Museum have been busy. They are lining up guest speakers for their 2019 Sunday lecture season which starts on June 2. The historical museum hours will stay the same: Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays 12 noon to 5 p.m. Also, they are getting new exhibits set up, and that is no small effort as the building does not have heat. Admission will remain at $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 5-12. The museum is located at 58471 Red Arrow in Hartford, and their phone number is 269-621-2188. While awaiting the guest speaker presentation on June 2, the museum has an off-site event. On Wednesday, April 17 at 6 p.m. at the Lawrence Conference Center, museum board member Sandy Merchant will be speaking about the history of Lawrence. In addition, Mr. Chuck Moden and Mr. Paul Garrod will be there with their collections of Lawrence pictures for the viewing audience’s pleasure. There is no fee for this event. On Friday, May 24, Van Buren County Museum will be sponsoring their first soup supper at the museum, an assortment of soups, salads and desserts will be offered. As in the past, it will be a freewill donation, along with the first peek of the 2019 exhibits.


Paw Law Lake Association meeting Saturday

The Paw Paw Lake Association will have its first meeting of 2019 on Saturday, April 6 at 9:00 a.m. at Watervliet Charter Township Hall, 4959 M-140. Guests are welcome.

Covert Library launches “Real Jobs” program

The Covert Branch Library will begin a new monthly event, titled “Real Jobs,” starting in April. “Real Jobs” invites a guest speaker each month to talk about his or her profession in order to educate teens about potential career options. On Thursday, April 18 at 4:00 p.m. medical professional Dale Mitchell will speak at the library about his 40-year career as a Registered Nurse. Please call the library to register for this event, or visit in person. For more information about programs at VBDL Covert Branch, visit at www.vbdl.org, or phone 269-764-1298.

Berrien County addresses mental health through free events in April

The Healthy Berrien Consortium, a collaboration of community organizations with a public and/or personal health service focus throughout Berrien County, will host a “Community Resiliency Series” with free events and learning opportunities throughout the month of April focused on mental health, trauma, and resiliency. The events, which include trainings on adverse childhood experiences (ACES), understanding trauma, and Mental Health First Aid, as well as screenings of the acclaimed documentaries “Resilience” and “Paper Tigers”, will be offered free of charge for community members. Participants at these events will gain a deeper understanding of the connection between mental health stressors, trauma and our community’s overall health status. “We cannot achieve optimal health if we only focus on physical health. Ultimately our goal is a community where optimal physical and mental health is achievable for everyone. Through this educational series, we can start to not only bring awareness to the issues within our community surrounding mental health and trauma, but begin to identify our strengths and points of resilience. It’s here that we find hope and healing,” said Tasha Turner, Director of Trauma-Informed Initiatives at Spectrum Health Lakeland. Community leaders and organizations across Berrien County are focusing more on mental health concerns and trauma for the purpose of building a stronger community that supports the achievement of all residents experiencing optimal levels of health. Mental illness and stressors can impact many facets of one’s life and has been shown to lead to poorer health outcomes overall, often impacting physical health and wellness, such as chronic illness like diabetes, cardiovascular disease or obesity. More information and a full listing of the event details can be found at the Berrien County Health Department website www.bchdmi.org.

Lunch & Learn Event: Infinitely Polar Bear Disability Network Southwest Michigan will wrap up their Lunch & Learn movie series on Wednesday, April 24 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with the showing of the film “Infinitely Polar Bear”. This event takes place at Disability Network’s office, located at 2900 Lakeview Avenue in St. Joseph. A light lunch will be provided and participants will discuss issues from the film. “Infinitely Polar Bear” is based on the true story of a father who is recovering from a manic breakdown and soon finds himself in over his head when he takes on the role of primary caregiver for his daughters while his wife returns to graduate school. This event is free and open to the public; however, pre-registration is required by contacting Miranda Grunwell at grunwellm@dnswm.org or (269) 345-1516 x120. This is a fragrance-free environment; please do not wear scented products to this event.

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