SYRACUSE — A familiar face was approved by the Wawasee School Board as the new principal of Wawasee High School during the board’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday evening, July 9, in Syracuse.
Geoff Walmer, who began his public education career as a teacher for five years at WHS and also served as the school’s assistant principal for one year, is returning as the new principal. He replaces Kim Nguyen, who resigned earlier this summer to accept a position with the Wildman Business Group.
Most recently, Walmer had been an assistant principal for five years at Warsaw Community High School. He said he had been “feeling the itch” of being a building principal but did not expect the Wawasee position to open this quickly. “We really love the community,” he said. “We lived here for seven years.”
More personnel moves were approved by the board including Vince Beasley being named the new director of the Pathways Cooperative based at WHS. Beasley, who had been an assistant principal at the school, replaces Jon Everingham, who transferred to the position of high school career/technical internship coordinator. Both moves are effective Aug. 13 and Beasley’s assistant principal position will be filled in the coming weeks.
Other moves, among several, included Aaron McKinley being named the new Wawasee Building Trades instructor replacing the retiring Ed Waltz. Thomas Conner was approved as a new choir teacher at the high school, replacing the retiring Connie Meadows. Jace Stewart is transferring to Syracuse Elementary as a teacher and will no longer be the technology coordinator at Wawasee Middle School.
In other business, the board heard a brief report from Joan Harden, agriculture teacher at the high school, about horticulture programs. Harden said the greenhouse at the high school is “kind of an unknown gem.” It is used extensively by horticulture and advanced life science plants classes.
Harden said she wants students to be able to properly identify various plants. A major project involves growing poinsettias in the fall and later selling them. Wawasee partners with Heartland Growers of Hamilton County, Ind.
There is also a plant sale where students learn about horticulture and managing the greenhouse. They grow, market and sell plants and the goal is to outdo the previous year’s class. If the goal is met, a pizza party is the reward.
Harden also noted community service projects are done, such as helping Teen Parents Succeeding with several projects and doing landscaping work at the Pathways welding building and the central office of the school corporation.
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, Joy Goshert, assistant superintendent, said during her report to the board the rescore window for ILEARN, the new state testing replacing ISTEP+, is July 15-31. But since it is a new test, there are really no scores released yet to use as a base for the rescore.
“It is an odd year, but hopefully next year things will return to normal,” Goshert noted.
Textbook rental fees for grades kindergarten through fifth for the 2019-20 school year will raise roughly $12 for each grade. Increases are due to passing more of the cost of a new math curriculum onto parents.
Other agenda items included:
• The board approved a $25,000 Views On Learning grant that will be used to purchase up to 10 Sprint hotspot devices and also for Zoom videoconferencing accounts. The grant will help the school corporation achieve instructional technology goals.
• A donation of $1,000 from Patrick Industries for the SkillsUSA culinary arts national competition was approved.
• Joey Korenstra, culinary arts student, placed 16th out of 40 in the national competition held in late June in Louisville. He was given a certificate of appreciation by the school corporation.
• Butler Graphic Design of Syracuse donated the Warrior image/logo rights to the school corporation.
• State qualifying track athletes from the high school were recognized including Luke Griner, Isaiah Tipping, Jada Parzygnot, Bailey Mayhew, Cammy Kryder, McKenzie Smith and Courtney Cox.
• Jacob Carson, a recent WHS graduate, was the Dallas Winchester Memorial Scholarship recipient in the amount of $600.
• Out of state or overnight trips were approved for the WHS football team to Edinburgh, Ind., the summer ECO Challenge students to Sawyer, Mich., and the WHS Key Club to Brookston, Ind.