Peshtigo School Board recognizes Special Services Teacher Award winners

By: 
Lynette Brosig

PESHTIGO – The Peshtigo School Board of Wednesday, May 8 started with a presentation of awards by Director of Student Services Julie Williams for two special education teachers for the Special Services Teacher Awards.

Williams nominated School Psychologist Steph Nor and Middle-High School Education Teacher Alison Stauss. 

Williams honored Nor first, saying, “Steph exemplifies the essence of dedication and advocacy in her role as school Psychologist. She does what is best for the kids and goes above and beyond to assure the success and well being of every student. Her willingness to lend a helping hand has no bounds. Her response of, ‘I would like to help with that’ echoes through-out the school as she selflessly offers her time, expertise and support throughout the school to anyone in need. Whether it is a response to intervention programs, providing guidance on academic and behavioral interventions or volunteering to ride the bus home with students, her contributions are inevitable. Her understanding of educational systems and practices has been instrumental in developing school wide initiative that fosters student engagement and meaningful learning experiences. Students naturally gravitate towards Steph seeking her guidance and support when they need someone to talk to or to confide in. She manages her responsibilities with great proficiency serving as the sole evaluator for special education in 504 assessments. She ensures that each student receives the individualized support to thrive academically.”

Next the Special Services Teacher award was then presented to the Middle-High School Special Education Teacher, Ali Stauss stating, “Alison embodies the epitome of dedication, compassion and unwavering commitment to her students and the greater community. Her approach to teaching is marked by her profound understanding that every student learns differently. She doesn’t just teach, but connects with her students on a personal level ensuring each student is being seen, heard and valued with her mantra of meet students where they are at, resonates throughout her classroom instilling confidence and empowering her students to believe in themselves. Her colleagues often witness her selflessness and willingness to go above and beyond for her students, Alison’s response to anything asked of her is ‘You got it, whatever I can do to help, just let me know what you need.’ This underscores her dedication to providing the best possible support and resources for her students success. Her influence extends far beyond the confines of her classroom, reaching her colleagues and the wider school community. Her empathetic teaching methods, unwavering optimism and genuine concern for others are a beacon of inspiration for all.”

The meeting then transitioned into the Reorganization Meeting for election of the School Board Officers. President Gary Larsen was nominated as Temporary Chairperson to chair the reorganization meeting/election. 

With no opposition, all Officers remained in the same positions that they previously served for the 2023/24 school year, including: Gary Larsen, President; Steve Coble, Vice President, Jenny Schwittay, Secretary/Clerk; Joe Nault, Treasurer and Tony O’Neill as Deputy Clerk. All were unanimously approved for election into those positions. 

Appointments of Committees and Chairperson did not take place at the Reorganization meeting but instead will be appointed by the President (Larsen) as determined per board policy. 

Moving on to the regular meeting agenda, there were two resignations including Luka Zischka as High School Social Studies teacher effective at the end of the 2023-24 School year. Zischka accepted an opportunity to teach in Abu Dobie. The only other resignation was from Kirstof Katzbeck as Assistant Boys Soccer Coach. 

Hiring’s for the District include: Kami Harvey as Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment; Duncan Jackson as a Middle School Football Coach; Derrik Maye as an Assistant JV/Varsity Football Coach and Zack Neumann as an Assistant JV/Varsity Football Coach. 

Donations received for the past month were from Provident Health Foundation in the amount of $250 to benefit Post Prom. Provident Health also donated $1,500 to benefit the Makin’-It Space; PTSO (Parent Teacher Student Organization) to benefit the Transportation expense for a Third Grade field trip in the amount of $711.42 and $350 to benefit the (SEED) Students Eat Every Day Program in the amount of $350.  

The Food Service Contract as presented by Taher was tabled until the next meeting due to staff still working with Taher in regards to the budget. Rau explained it is a five year bid, but it has to be reviewed and renewed every year. 

The Letter of Appointments was then approved, which is a program that is a process to provide certainty of their employment for the following year, but allows for changes if need be  

Two appointments were unanimously approved, first for Tony O’Neill as the WASB Delegate with Gary Larsen as Alternate and Larsen’s appointment to CESA 8 Delegate/ CESA 8 Agency Convention and Board of Controls Representative. 

Board Member / Buildings and Grounds Committee Chairman gave a progress update stating “There is a lot going on and we are moving right along on Room 20. On another note, Seefeldt added that he attended the Junior Olympics and the staff did an excellent job at the PELC, Middle School and 4K program. They were all having fun, laughing and playing. It was great to see and hear all of that going on.” 

Moving into Larsens President report, he thanked the board for re-electing him as Board President. He said, “The Senior Center Breakfast is on May 15; in two weeks, School is done; there were no changes to the board with all positives remaining with the same people. There is no animosity and everything should be good.”

In his Administrator Report, Rau said, “There will be my re-evaluation in June for either June 11, 18 or 24, as it is yet to be determined. I would also like to schedule a Policy Meeting for June 4. Graduation is May 17 at 7 p.m. and attendees will be able to enter through the new front doors of the High School. I also got a chance to see some of the Junior Olympics and my favorite moments were watching the kids making noise and cheering for their classmates. There was a Senior Citizen Breakfast on May 15 at 9:30 a.m. and after breakfast they will transition to the High School for a tour of the school at 10:30 a.m.” 

Rau also gave an update on the Building Projects with basketball hoops and backboards going up; the dry walling in the locker rooms is completed; the Science room on top floor is done; the math room is not completely finished; the front of building looks totally different but they will be trying to stain the brick to match the old existing brick of which they have had success with staining the brick in prior applications to match the old and the new bricks together; the entrance and fitness center are taking shape, windows are going in but the bottom area with some windows being on backorder and should be here soon. Other than that, things are moving along very nicely at this point. 

Rau encouraged the board and audience to drive by the site and you will see a lot of people working and the changes that have already been completed. The School will be ready for the next school season, which includes four new classrooms, new locker rooms, new weight room and new tech ed spaces. The Gym can be used in the fall of 2025. Next year band and choir will be in the music room, which frees up a choir room to be used as a classroom, as well as the band room will too. In spring 1/4 of the remodeling will be done and in summer the remaining section will be done. There will be some adjustments that have to be tweaked. 

John Kukuk provided the success of the STEM bus that was at the school, stating “It was a huge success and it was surprising how much interest that there was in this. There were approximately 50 kids that went through five sessions. The instructors were taken away by the enthusiasms from the kids and they enjoyed every minute of it. The program was a huge success and it looks like the School can get it back next year for 4th and 5th grade students. We did 5th and 6th grades this year. One of the classrooms went back to their room and created thank you hangtags on the 3D printer thanking them. At the end of the day I got to be one of the teachers on star charts. It was a really fun day and a great success.” 

In ending the meeting, Rau identified that some of the agenda items slotted for the next school board meeting will consist of reviewing of the student handbook, contracts, health and dental insurance renewals, WIA Membership and the food service contract regarding prices. 

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