The Duneland School Corporation honored retiring teachers and support staff this past Wednesday at a special reception celebration at its Administration Center. Retiring Duneland teachers and support staff will have a combined total of 613.5 years of service at the end of this school year. The retirees honored were: William Bailey, Science teacher at Chesterton High School (CHS); Tammy Banghart, Title 1 aide at Bailly Elem.; Michele Bartels, CHS German teacher; Cathy Fitzmaurice, Food Services satellite manager at Brummitt Elem.; Diane Frederici, 1st grade teacher at Brummitt Elem.; Rebecca Gierke, CHS Business teacher/international baccalaureate coordinator; Barb Gonzales, media secretary at Brummitt Elem.; John Jones, CHS Industrial Tech teacher; Sharon Klahn, Technology integration specialist at the intermediate and middle schools; Elaine Krause, 1st grade teacher at Jackson Elem.; Karen Leonard, CHS Attendance secretary; Kim Maple, Yost Elem. secretary; Amy Otto, CMS Music teacher; David Pruis, Superintendent of Schools; Gayle Sandquist, 1st grade teacher at Liberty Elem.; Tom Schnabel, CMS Music teacher/district music director; Lorie Skimehorn, Jackson Elem. nurse and district health services director; Denise Soliday, Yost Elem. secretary/treasurer; Doug Strehler, mechanic at the Support Services Center; Jennifer Thoms, CHS Guidance counselor; Judy Thorne, CHS Media secretary; Kayla Vodnoy, CHS Spanish/French teacher; Shirley Wallace, CHS Swimming instructional aide; and Donna Wilk, CHS Business teacher. retiring teachers and staff William Bailey earned his graduate degree from the University of Missouri and his undergraduate degree from Purdue University. Prior to coming to Duneland, Bill worked for the Valparaiso schools for 4 years. Duneland welcomed him in 1967 and he has remained at CHS for the last 50 years as a physics teacher. Tammy Banghart has a degree in Elementary Education from Purdue University. After substitute teaching in the elementary schools for a few years, she was hired at Bailly Elementary as an Instructional Aide. After a short break, she returned in 2008 as a Title 1 Aide until present. Her future plans include spending time with family, traveling, exercising and relaxing. She retires with eight years of service. Michele Bartels earned her graduate degree from IUN and her undergraduate degree from Purdue University. After graduating, she went to Germany to work for the summer to improve her speaking skills and ended up staying for three years. She taught English while she was there. She has accompanied CHS students many times on study tours in Germany. She served as Foreign Language Department chair for 20 years and has served Duneland teachers as co-president of their association for 11 years. Michele first joined Duneland in 1975 on a temporary contract and became permanent the following year. She retires with 41 years of service. Cathy Fitzmaurice began working for Duneland as a substitute for Food Services and by 2002 she joined the staff at Brummitt as the satellite manager. After retirement she plans to travel with her husband, spend more time with her family, enjoy some old hobbies, and volunteer in the Duneland community. She has enjoyed her years at Brummitt and will miss the students and staff, but she is looking forward to her new life! She retires with 25 years of service. Diane Frederici earned her graduate degree from Purdue University Calumet and her undergraduate degree from Purdue University. Diane was an instructional aide and substitute teacher for three years before being hired as a teacher at Duneland. Her first year was taught at Liberty Elem. and later transferred to Brummitt Elem. She taught various grades levels over the years, but the majority of her time was spent teaching first grade. She retires with 38 years of service. Rebecca Gierke earned her undergraduate degree from Tri-State University in Angola. She went on to receive her MBA at IUN. Prior to coming to Duneland she had worked one year as a Business teacher for the Lake Station Schools. Becky has also been the high school's International Baccalaureate Program coordinator for nine years. She retires with 21 years of service. Barb Gonzales has worked at Brummitt Elementary as a media secretary for 13.5 years. She plans to move to Houston, Texas to be close by her children and grandchildren. She is looking forward to a whole new chapter in my life. NO MORE SNOW!!! John Jones earned his graduate degree from Indiana University and his undergraduate degree from Indiana State University. Prior to coming to Duneland in 1997, he taught for 15 years at schools in Columbia City, Kokomo and LaPorte. He retires with 20 years of service. Sharon Klahn began working in the Media & Technology Department in 1995. She has a bachelor’s and an associate’s degree from Purdue University. Her job duties over her 22 years include most recently the intermediate/middle school technology integration specialist. Sharon plans to spend quality time her family and friends, to travel and explore the national parks, garden, kayak, read and enjoy life. Elaine Krause earned her undergraduate and graduate degree from Purdue Calumet. Prior to coming to Duneland, Elaine taught four years with the School Town of Munster. With the exception of a few years spent at Liberty and Brummitt Elementary, Elaine has spent most of her teaching career at Jackson Elementary. She retires with 31 years of service. Karen Leonard began her career at Chesterton High School in the fall of 1973. She was hired by Charles Messler as a secretary for the typing pool. She later was an aide to former teachers Jim Ton and Barb Stroud. She moved to the Attendance Department where she has worked the remainder of her career. Karen is looking forward to more time spent with her family and working on home projects. She retires with 43 years of service. Kim Maple started working at Duneland as a Remediation Aide at WIS in 2000. In the fall of 2002, she became a Kindergarten Aide, and in December she took the secretary position at Yost. She plans to spend lots of time with her five grandchildren and doing the things she loves--gardening, knitting, painting, genealogy research and beekeeping. She will miss the Yost staff and Duneland friends, but she will not miss coming to work on cold snowy mornings. She retires with 15 years of service. Amy Otto received her undergraduate degree from Taylor University and went on to Vander Cook College of Music for her graduate degree. Before coming to Duneland Amy taught music at the Madison Schools, Plainfield Community Schools and Valparaiso Schools. She taught five years at Westchester Middle School then taught her last 16 years at CMS. She retires with 21 years of service. Dr. David Pruis earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Western Michigan University and his doctorate from Ball State University. He began his teaching career in 1971 in MSD Southwest Allen County Schools. Dr. Dave came to Duneland in 2003 as the Assistant Superintendent of Operations. He previously served as an building administrator and/or superintendent with various school corporations in Indiana since 1981. In 2013 he was named the Superintendent of Duneland Schools. He retires from Duneland Schools with 14 years of service. He has been an advocate of public education for 41 years. Gayle Sandquist received her undergraduate degree from Indiana State. She completed her graduate degree through Purdue Calumet. Gayle has taught all of her years at Liberty Elementary. She retires with 16 years of service. Tom Schnabel earned his undergraduate degree from Ball State University and graduate degree from Indiana University Northwest. Before starting at Duneland, Tom worked for two years at the Portage Twp. Schools. He has spent 32 years teaching Duneland's string program. In addition to that he has been the Director of Music for the last seven years. Lorie Skimehorn earned her Diploma of Nursing from St. Mary of Nazareth School of Nursing. She earned her BS in Nursing in 1988 from Valparaiso University. She began working for Duneland in 1996. At that time she was split between Jackson and Liberty Elementary. In 2001 she was split between Brummitt and Jackson. Lorie went on a tour of duty in 2003 and returned to us in 2004. At that time she was solely at Jackson. That year she also became the Health Services Coordinator. She retires with 20 years of service. Denise Soliday was first a parent volunteer at Yost Elementary where her daughters attended school. Later she was one of the first to be hired in a new group at that time Ð a playground aide at Yost Elementary. Later she was hired as the Secretary/Treasurer in the Main Office at Yost. For many years, she was an active member of the Duneland Assoc. of Education Office Personnel. Her plans for retirement include visiting her daughters in Illinois and Berlin, Germany. She retires with 32 years of service. Doug Strehler has been a mechanic for the Corporation for 22 years. During that time, he has helped keep Duneland’s fleet of 83 buses and 29 other school vehicles running smoothly and to the safety standards of the Indiana State Police and Dept. of Education. Doug is looking forward to doing many home improvement projects now that he will be retired as well as enjoying lots of fishing in his spare time. Jennifer Thoms earned her graduate degree from Purdue Univ. Calumet and undergraduate degree from Indiana University. Jennifer started her teaching career in 1974 at North Judson High School as a Home Economics teacher. She came to Duneland in 1976 to teach Home Economics. Later she worked part-time in the Guidance Dept. and taught part-time. Several years later Jennifer became a school guidance counselor at CHS. She retires with 41 years of service. Judy Thorne has worked as a media secretary at CHS since 1996. In her 21 years of service, she has seen many changes in the way that students use the library. She has enjoyed helping many students and teachers during her career at Duneland Schools. Kayla Vodnoy earned her graduate degree from Indiana University and her undergraduate degree from Kalamazoo College. Prior to coming to Duneland in 1994, she taught at Forest Ridge Academy and Morgan Park Academy. Kayla first started teaching foreign language at Westchester Middle School before coming to the high school in 1997. Later she moved to CHS to teach French and Spanish. She retires with 22 years of service. Shirley Wallace has worked at CHS for 36 years as an Instructional Aide in the CHS Pool. She also has supervised the CHS evening Open Swim program. As a Red Cross Water Safety Instructor Trainer, she has certified some 1,500 CHS student lifeguards, as well as keeping the lifeguards and CHS Pool staff certifications up-to-date. She has been with the American Red Cross for 43 years. Donna Wilk earned her undergraduate degree from Indiana State and went on to earn her graduate degree through Indiana University. She has worked the last 10 years as a Business teacher at Chesterton High School. Prior to Chesterton she worked seven years with the Union Twp. Schools and nine years with the Michigan City Area Schools.
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