08-22-2019 Free meals for all Watervliet School District students; four teachers hired; Hagar Townsh

Free meals for all Watervliet School District students; four teachers hired

By Annette Christie The Watervliet School Board meeting on Monday, August 12 was a constant flow of good news. At the top was the announcement that free breakfast and lunch would be available this upcoming school year for all kids, of all ages in the Watervliet School District. Superintendent Ric Seager told the board that administration has been working over the past few months to qualify the district for the Community Eligibility Provision. Terry Adams, the district’s Food Service Director has been working very closely in preparation for the program. Seager thanked Adams for all her hard work and commitment to bringing the program to fruition. In an effort to expand the number of students taking part in the food service program, staff will make it easier for the students including the possible delivery of meals right to the classrooms. “We want to make sure that every student has a nutritious meal,” Seager said adding, “We don’t want any kids coming to school in the morning hungry.” As required by the program, all households with students will be asked to complete surveys. In addition, there will no longer be an application for families to complete in order to participate. 4 new teachers welcomed Seager also introduced four new staff members that will be getting offers for employment. Joseph Morsaw will be teaching high school science and mathematics. He has 19 years of experience teaching in the communities of Hartford, Mattawan, White Pigeon, Niles, and for the Pokagon Band schools. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in Science Education from Western Michigan University and will soon be completing his master’s degree. Mark Herndon will be teaching high school science. He has been a science teacher previously in Fort Wayne Community Schools and Dekalb County School in Indiana. He has a master’s degree in Biology and was twice awarded the Lilly Teacher Creativity Grant.

WATERVLIET WELCOMES… Watervliet School District has four new teaching professionals in the district this year. They were presented to the School Board at their August 12, 2019 meeting (from the left): Jamie Dawson, high school counselor; Olivia Dodge, special education at Watervliet High School; Mark Herndon, science at Watervliet High School; Mackenzie Collins, special education Watervliet High School. Not shown is Joseph Morsaw who will be teaching high school science and mathematics. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)


Mackenzie Collins will be teaching Special Education at the high school. She previously worked for the South Bend School Corporation. She is also working on her master’s degree. The board also approved a long-term substitute authorization for Olivia Dodge to teach special education at the high school level. She previously worked in the district as a paraprofessional and interventionist. She has a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and an associate’s degree from Lake Michigan College. She is currently working on her full certification in Special Education. Board member Ted Tees commended Seager for bringing in such quality candidates. Seager commented that Watervliet wants to be a destination district for talent. “We are real excited about the level of competency and commitment,” Seager said.

Other business In other business, Seager told the board that they are working on filling an interim spot in the business office. The district will be receiving an audit of the business office to include personnel, processes, and to make sure that they are reaping the most benefit of what they are doing. He will keep the board informed as that process moves forward. With board’s acceptance of the resignation of high school principle Brad Coon, Seager informed the board of the process he will be using to fill that role on the interim basis. Seager said he has had individuals express interest in the position on an interim basis and as the search for the long-term candidate moves forward. Administrative staff has discussed the possibility of Susan Toothman, Curriculum Director, being in the high school principle role as the school year kicks off. Seager said that other administrators have offered to help with other tasks as needed. He anticipates that they will post the position in October with the goal of having someone onboard to fill it by January 1, 2020. A discussion about strategic planning was held. Seager said some decisions have to be made with regard to how the district wants to go about it. He suggested that a team should be put together to look at it, sometime in early October. He anticipates being able to roll this out in July 2020. Mr. Kindt