Principals at all of Dexter’s schools are in a crunch right now to hire enough teachers to support the number of students enrolled for the fall, also known as next week.
Dexter High School will have approximately 70 new students, of whom 34 are international students. That means a total of close to 1,176 students at the high school, and there are six new staff members: Matthew Caves and Jameson Taylor, both science teachers, Kimberly Mendez, a Spanish teacher, Laura Staff, a para professional, and Stacy Wing, a secretary in the main office.
At Mill Creek Middle School, they are approaching 600 students.
“So far we have over 30 new students with more still enrolling,” said Principal Jami Bronson.
She says that Mill Creek is bringing in seven new staff members, in part because of the increased number of students coming into the seventh-grade class.
Anne Kelley has been hired as an eighth-grade English Language Arts and history teacher; Amara Karapas was hired as an eighth-grade art teacher; David Sinopoli was hired as an eighth-grade math and science teacher; and Jack Stearns will teach eighth-grade math.
Not all staff changes are new hires – some staff are merely moving buildings. Jill Jastren, who taught the past three years at Wylie Elementary School and before that taught eighth-grade science at Mill Creek, will return to Mill Creek as a seventh-grade science teacher.
Creekside Intermediate School will be gaining a few students from last year and will also have close to 600 students.
“We have two new special education teachers, Gary Puhl and Susan Kemble,” said Creekside Principal Tammy Reich. “We will also be hiring a new band teacher this year.”
Wylie Elementary School has seen an increase of student enrollment from 527 last year to approximately 540 for this year.
“We have hired two wonderful classroom teachers,” said Principal Katie See. They are third-grade teacher Anouk Weiss, and fourth-grade teacher Natalie Hanlon.
“We have also hired six new para-educators who play such an important role in our students’ education.”
The numbers are staying steady from last year at Cornerstone Elementary School, where enrollment is virtually unchanged, estimated at 405 students.
According to Principal Craig McCalla, there will be some staffing changes.
“Cornerstone hired a new Early Childhood Special Education teacher by the name of Kristin Bartenslager” said McCalla. “This was due to the retirement of Sue Stalker. Lynne Gronvall transferred from Bates to Cornerstone due to the retirement of Becky Wolfinger. We also hired Zhen Luo (Yolanda), and Liu Yu (Lonnie) to teach Mandarin.”
Bates Elementary School is expecting close to 340 students this year. Their new staff include principal Jesse Stevenson. They’ve also hired Laura Ayers to teach kindergarten, Jill Fawkes as a Teacher Consultant, and Stacey Keeler as a long-term substitute for a kindergarten position.
The district has also hired many paraprofessionals. Although the last minute hiring flurry might seem unusual to outsiders, it’s par for the course in most districts as established teachers find new positions and new enrollments necessitate adding classrooms.
Superintendent Chris Timmis noted that Dexter has had no problem attracting high quality, experienced, and diverse teacher candidates, some of whom said they were just waiting for a position to open up in the district. At least one new staff member is a Dexter graduate.
Look to WeLoveDexter.com throughout the school-year for regular “meet the teacher” features delving into who the aforementioned teachers are and what they do for students on a daily basis.