The 2019-2020 school year is suddenly upon the Pierre School District.
During the last two weeks, students have been registering for classes, checking out computers and posing for official photographs for all district schools.
For new students and parents, these schools include T.F. Riggs High School, Georgia Morse Middle School (GMMS) and Buchanan, Jefferson and Kennedy Elementaries.
Riggs’ classes start Aug. 19, while classes in all other schools start Aug. 21. The first day off from classes is Sept. 1, Labor Day.
Many of the fall season’s sports have already been in practice, with others holding opening practices this week. Friday brings the first competitive games: girls’ and boys’ junior varsity and girls’ and boys’ varsity soccer will host Brandon Valley. Next Monday, the boys’ varsity golfers host Sioux Falls Washington.
A new teacher in-service was held Aug. 13.
“We had our new teachers in today, and three board members were present,” said Superintendent Kelly Glodt. “It’s a welcome to the school and community, then we get into the nuts and bolts of our everyday operations. We have a good mixture of brand new teachers fresh out of college and those who have a wealth of experience.”
According to business assistants Dalaney Paxton and Teri Carter, the new certified staff for Riggs HIgh School include: Alison Bowers, English; Matt DeBoer, social studies; Brody Gilbertson, math; Brenda Gortmaker, special education; Kaci Keinholz, personal finance; Lexi Lafave, math; Sam Naasz, science; and Nicole Thorson, counselor.
The new middle school certified staff include: Sean Clancy, eighth grade history; Elizabeth Clancy, special education; Randi Diehm, physical education and health; Alicia Ferrilli, language arts; Tori Moore, seventh grade science; and Patrick Skroch, sixth grade science.
The new faces at Buchanan are Kasey Gibson, fourth grade; and Karen Pogany, kindergarten.
Jefferson’s new staff include: Martha Johnson, early childhood — special education; Kirstyn Larson, occupational therapist; Stacy Mertes, fourth grade; Megan Neuharth, first grade; and Nicole Roth, special education.
Kennedy has seven new certified staff: Holly Cole, early kindergarten; Shana Davis, Title I — reading; Ashley Grambihler, second grade; Allie Hedman, third grade; Carley Lehrke, fifth grade; Jana Polston, kindergarten; and Meggie Steiner, fourth grade.
“This 29 is the biggest number of new teachers since I’ve been here, and this is my 13th year,” said Glodt. “Last year there were 18. Maybe, some veteran teachers stayed on a few years more than they had to before retiring.”
Glodt said the total staff members for the district are in the 380 range, with less than 200 being teachers.
“It takes all of us,” he said, “A custodian or cook affects a student’s day, just as a teacher does. Our goal is to have a good ongoing staff; the fewer resignations the better. I give credit to the principals for finding and retaining outstanding teachers; we don’t just want to fill a position.”
The district held a parent meeting the evening of Aug. 12, which centered mostly on Riggs’ significant security changes. Now all doors will be locked, and people must ring at the front door to be buzzed in once the school day starts.
“A big change at the high school,” said Glodt. “I think the students and staff will welcome it.”
The monthly “Governor” is the high school student-created newspaper. The “Infinite Campus” is a student/parent portal. Parents may sign up in order to monitor their child’s school records via computer. To create your own portal, contact your student’s school.