CHESTERTON — The Duneland School Board accepted three more retirements Monday, including that of Chesterton High School Principal Jeff Van Drie.
Also retiring are Crystal Callaway, third-grade teacher at Bailly Elementary, and LouAnn Hopson, a physical education teacher at Brummitt Elementary.
These retirements, along with those of Cathy Seely, guidance secretary, and Gayle Vogan, media secretary, both at Chesterton Middle School, take effect at the conclusion of the current school year.
Van Drie, who started his teaching career in 1979, served at Wawasee and River Forest before coming to Duneland Schools in 2005 as CHS assistant principal. He became the high school principal in 2013.
Bob Drus, a CHS history teacher for the past 14 years, praised Van Drie, saying the high school is a “Four Star school because of the way he’s led. He’s a great principal.”
Speaking of Van Drie’s leadership, Drus cited “his ability to communicate with staff and trust them, and communicating to students and trusting them.”
Monte Moffett, Duneland director of operations and human relations, said Callaway has taught for 23 years. Hopson began her Duneland career in 1988 at CHS, moving to Brummitt in 2000.
Total school retirements so far, Moffett said, reflect 198 years in the classroom, 159 of them in Duneland Schools.
In other personnel matters, the board accepted a transfer of James Goetz from assistant superintendent for instruction to CHS assistant athletic director. Also, CMS Principal Michael Megyesi was granted a leave of absence.
Also at the Monday evening meeting, school trustees awarded a $643,505 contract to Midwest Transit of Kankakee, Illinois, for the purchase of eight school vehicles. These include four 78-passenger and three 66-passenger buses and one 14-passenger vehicle.
Kathy Forszt, transportation manager, explained the price includes a trade-in of seven vehicles being replaced. That price, Forszt added, comes under the budgeted cost. Also, she said, 14-passenger vehicles are becoming very popular, especially for sports.
Elsewhere, the board authorized Superintendent Ginger Bolinger to sign contracts with the Indiana Department of Education for residential placement of students.
The board also heard from Yost Elementary staff and students about the first-year student council for third- and fourth-graders.
Quarterly service projects have included “penny wars” raising nearly $770 for the Puerto Rico victims of Hurricane Maria; a food drive netting 1,121 cans for the Westchester Food Pantry; Christmas cards and caroling for local nursing home residents; and a rock garden, currently under development.
Student council advisers are teachers Mary Zromkoski and Olivia Sloan. “It’s very rewarding to see them take charge and be responsible,” Zromkoski told the board.