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Eleven teachers join Watervliet Public Schools

By Kristy Noack

With the first week of school in the books, the Watervliet Board of Education held their monthly meeting Monday, September 11.

The big news in the district was the introduction of 11 new teachers who have joined the Watervliet Public Schools. According to Superintendent Kevin Schooley, “This has been the largest hiring class at Watervliet Schools in quite some time.”

Jen Wagner joined the ranks and will be teaching preschool at South Elementary.

NEW YEAR, NEW TEACHERS… The following new teachers of the Watervliet Public School district were in-troduced Monday to the Board of Education (from the left): Alaina Bongiorno, Kourtney Sattler, Jen Wagner, Jason Oet-jens, Christa Steadman, Dan Soard, Alicia Sarco, Samantha Zalewski, Jessica Grossman, and Amy Oetjens. Ashley Tilly was not available for the photo. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)


North Elementary has welcomed two new teachers to its staff. Alaina Bongiorno will teach fifth grade, and Ashley Tilly is a new fourth grade teacher.

At the middle school, Jason Oetjens and Amy Oetjens will teach seventh grade history and sixth grade science, respectively. The Oetjens are husband and wife.

Samantha Zalewski is the new middle school art teacher, and Jessica Grossman will lead eighth grade science.

Christa Steadman is the new seventh grade science teacher, and Kourtney Sattler will teach seventh grade math.

Two new teachers will make their home at the high school. Alicia Sarco will teach Spanish I and II.

The board approved extending a higher contract to Dan Soard. Soard has replaced Bryan Arbut as an English teacher in the Language Arts department. Following one year of service to the district Arbut returned to his native St. Joe to accept a teaching position.

Soard is a graduate of Western Michigan University and will teach ninth grade English and has assumed the yearbook advisor duties.

The board also accepted the resignation of wood shop instructor Karl Shafer. Shafer, a teacher at the high school, moved out of district. Superintendent Schooley said, “The position of Industrial Technology, in which wood shop falls, is on the state critical shortage list.”

The district did not have a pool of wood shop teachers from which they could pull, so they did the next best thing. They contacted former longtime woods teacher Mike Waite to fill the position until a replacement can be found.  Waite agreed and has returned to the woods classroom at the high school.

Board of Education president Bill Spaulding said with a smile, “It’s kind of nice we can get the best wood shop teacher in the state of Michigan as our fill-in.”

Successful start to the new school year

Principals were on hand Monday night to share their impressions of the first week of school, and the overwhelming consensus was last week’s opening was a success.

Carole Fetke, principal at South Elementary, shared, “Parents are being patient” while the student drop-off procedure