By Liz Shepherd
WARSAW — Warsaw Community Schools’ Board of Trustees heard remarks from a Warsaw Community High School graduate and new administration during a meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 10.
WCHS grad and U.S. Air Force fighter pilot Claire Hickerson attended the school board meeting to discuss what her current and future plans are, as well as acknowledge her appreciation for the opportunities WCS gave her.
“I grew up in Warsaw and went through Harrison, Lakeview, and the high school,” said Hickerson. “I just can’t say enough good things because the amount of support that I got in my 12 years helped me be where I’m at today. I still remember all my teachers’ names. And the amount of support I have since gotten even after graduating has been phenomenal.”
Hickerson has been in North Carolina for the past year undergoing flight training. She graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado in 2018.
“In the future, I will be moving to England at the end of the month to go over to an air force base about two hours north of London,” said Hickerson. “From there, I will hopefully one day deploy. I really, really like my job.”
Board President Heather Reichenbach said the board appreciated hearing from graduates like Hickerson about how her experiences at WCS helped her with her career goals.
“This is the epitome of what we’re about,” said Reichenbach on Hickerson’s experiences.
“This is the mission of what we’re trying to get our students to dream,” said Board Vice President Randy Polston. “If someone were to tell me back when she was in fourth grade that she would be doing this, I would have been like ‘Well, if that’s her dream, then she’ll do that. I know that.'”
Six new assistant principals for the school corporation were also introduced to the school board during the meeting.
Dr. Dani Barkey, WCS assistant superintendent of secondary education, had the staff introduce themselves through a pre-recorded video due to the majority of the group attending WCHS’ freshman orientation.
Michele White is Lakeview Middle School’s new assistant principal, and Paul Zakaria will now serve as the Warsaw Area Career Center’s assistant principal. David Bailey, Leah Sprunger, Steven Caudill and Tim Devlin will serve as WCHS’ senior class, junior class, sophomore class and freshman class assistant principals, respectively. Caudill is a new hire while the other five were already employed with WCS prior to their new positions.
The board also held a public hearing regarding a two-year contract with Warsaw Community Education Association. WCS and WCEA are currently in the informal bargaining stage with the contract, which will continue until Sept. 15. After WCEA ratifies the contract, it will be brought before the board for final approval.
Goals within the contract include a collaborative process between WCEA and WCS, and getting all teachers over a $40,000 starting base salary.
“We set a goal three years ago to get our starting teachers’ salary over $40,000 for the starting base and we believe very strongly that we will be there this year,” said WCS Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert. “This is a goal that the State of Indiana just put into place this past year.”
WCS’s Board of Trustees also:
- Heard from Director of Human Resources Sheila Howe that teacher staffing for the upcoming school year is covered. She noted that WCS is actively hiring for bus drivers and custodians. A sign-on bonus for the transportation department is still in effect.
- Learned about a travel request for 20 people to attend Dual Language Immersion training in Utah. The request will be up for approval at the school board’s regular meeting next Monday.
- Heard from Dr. David Robertson, assistant superintendent of elementary education, about an eight-step textbook rental approval process.
The board’s next regular meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 16, in the school corporation’s central office.