Archive for Thursday, February 15, 2007

Longtime Lansing teachers announce retirement

February 15, 2007

Two longtime Lansing Elementary School teachers won't be returning to the classroom in the fall.

Kindergarten teacher Jean Salmon and Title I reading teacher Debbie Coleman have submitted their resignations to the Lansing School Board, effective at the end of the 2006-'07 school year.

Board members voted to accept the resignations during their monthly meeting Monday, Feb. 12.

LES principal Tim Newton said he was sad to see Salmon and Coleman leave the district and called both women "irreplaceable."

Newton told the board the district would lose more than an educator after the retirement of Salmon, who began her tenure in Lansing as a kindergarten teacher in August 1977.

"Yeah, we're losing a teacher with all that experience, but we're losing a really good friend that's always perky and positive," Newton said. "Same thing with Debbie Coleman."

"That's another great friend we're gonna be losing - a person who's always positive, brought a lot of positive things to the school."

Newton said LES wouldn't be the same without Salmon, who has become somewhat of a legend in Lansing, having taught multiple generations during her 30 years at the school.

Salmon said she would use her free time to perform volunteer work and spend more time with her grandchildren. She might even do some traveling.

Newton said Coleman's contributions to the reading program at LES were apparent after more than a decade of service there.

"She brings a unique expertise to the school and has really made an impact on the lives of kids here," he said.

Coleman's retirement will allow her more time to focus on one of her passions outside the classroom.

"She's gonna be playing a lot of golf," Newton said.

On behalf of the school board, president Shelly Gowdy wished Salmon and Coleman the best.

"I want to publicly thank them for their years of service to the district and hope that they enjoy retirement," she said.

In other action Monday, the board:

¢ Heard an acknowledgement from Newton, who thanked the Lansing PTA for providing meals to teachers and staff at LES and Lansing Intermediate School during parent teacher-conferences.

¢ Heard acknowledgements from LIS principal Jan Jorgensen, who thanked the Future Business Leaders of America club members at LHS for designing business cards for LIS teachers. She also thanked Lansing Parks and Recreation director Jason Crum, who helped obtain a bicycle donation for an LIS student whose bicycle had been stolen.

¢ Heard an acknowledgment from Lansing High School principal Steve Dike, who recognized the wrestling team for achieving its first Kaw Valley League championship since 1996.

¢ Reviewed a report on the construction fund.

¢ Approved,7-0, payment to McPherson Contractors and Kleinfelder for the district's construction projects. February payments totaled $1,044,117.

¢ Approved, 7-0, a resolution authorizing financial firm Piper Jaffray to explore the sale of a portion of the district's bonds, which were approved by voters in April 2005.

¢ Reviewed a construction phase report, which included updates on the auditorium and band room at the high school and the new elementary school on West Mary Street.

¢ Heard a presentation by Newton about the Bring Up Grades program at LES, which recognizes third-graders who raise their grades and maintain or continue to raise them from one quarter to the next.

¢ Heard a presentation by LHS social worker Katie Smith about plans for a freshman transition program.

¢ Approved, 7-0, a motion to schedule a joint meeting with city officials for 6 p.m. April 9 at Lansing Middle School.

¢ Heard a recommendation from Lansing schools superintendent Randal Bagby to postpone the renewal of a contract between the school district and A Deere Place day care until the April board meeting. The day care utilizes space in the Sallie Zoll building. Bagby said steady enrollment increases in the last decade have led him to believe it's best to postpone renewal of the contract until he can construct an enrollment projection and determine space needs at LES. Debbie Deere, the day care's owner and director, said she needed to know by the end of April whether the contract would be renewed so the day care center's patrons could plan accordingly.

¢ Reviewed administrative reports from the building principals.

¢ Reviewed a report on parent attendance at parent-teacher conferences in the district. Attendance rates were 88 percent at LES; 87 percent at LIS; 32 percent at Lansing Middle School; and 35 percent at LHS.

¢ Met in executive session for 20 minutes to discuss personnel issues, an out-of-district student enrollment request, the substitute teacher list, administrator contracts and negotiations.

¢ Approved, 7-0, an application for an out-of-district student to attend Lansing schools.

¢ Approved, 7-0, the substitute teacher list.

¢ Approved, 7-0, a one-year contract extension through the 2008-'09 school year for school administrators Newton, Jorgensen, Dike, Bogard, LMS principal Kerry Brungardt, LMS assistant principal Brooks Jenkins and assistant superintendent Donna Hughes.

As part of its consent agenda, the board:

¢ Approved minutes from the Jan. 16 board meeting.

¢ Approved bills for the month.

¢ Approved the clerk's financial, treasurer's, investment securities and miscellaneous reports.

¢ Approved the resignation of LMS and LHS nurse Sue Niederhofer at the end of the 2006-'07 school year.

¢ Approved a recommendation to hire LES cook Tom Orlowski.

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