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School board approves retirements

During its Monday night meeting, the Somerset Board of Education recognized the retirements of fourth-grade teacher Jody Keller and Gifted and Talented Coordinator Rosanne Erickson. While Keller was unable to attend the meeting, Erickson offered a few parting words to the district.

“I want to thank everyone for the support and kindness,” she said. “I will really miss the kids. I love them inside and out.”

During her time in Somerset, Erickson worked with reading, language arts and drama in addition to her contribution to the gifted and talented program, and District Superintendent Randy Rosburg praised her service to the students.

“You have connected with many kids over the years and engaged them in a variety of ways, and we’re very grateful for that,” Rosburg said to Erickson. “You’ve been like a magnet – you just draw them in. You will be missed.”

In its second order of business, the board approved versions 2000, 3000, 4000 and 5000 of the NEOLA series, which is an update to board policies and bylaws. Board member Marie Colbeth was the only dissenting voice, raising her concern about the uncertain implementation of the board’s first round of revisions.

“I don’t like approving it without seeing those changes in place,” Colbeth said. “I don’t like the process we’re following.”

According to Rosburg, the board is simply approving the first draft of the series and will have another opportunity to review it at the July 7 meeting, which could very well be the last meeting on the NEOLA series. At that meeting, the board will likely review versions 7000, 8000 and 9000 before arriving at a final approval.

Before the board adjourned, board member Tom Walters and treasurer Mike Connor shared their recent involvement with the school and community. Walters recently accompanied 21 students and eight parents to Washington, D.C., in what he called “a phenomenal trip.”

“We walked over 38 miles, and the heat index was over 100 degrees,” Walters said. “But the kids didn’t get grumpy. They were an absolute joy to be with.”

According to Walters, the highlight of the trip wasn’t even on the schedule. The group happened to witness Pakistan’s defense minister laying a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier, which was a special and solemn experience for everyone. Although Walters said it was a worthwhile and educational trip, four days might not have been enough to accommodate the crammed schedule.

Connor marched with the American Legion from St. Anne’s to Veterans Park on Memorial Day, performing honors at five cemeteries in addition to participating in the parade. Connor has been a part of the Somerset tradition for 41 years.

“Right now we have more veterans in the trailer than we have marching. I’m hoping to stay out of that trailer for years to come,” Connor joked. “All in all, it was a great day.”

Other business

  • The board recognized the girls and boys state track participants.
  • The board approved the hire of Kay Vater, 0.30 elementary art teacher.
  • The board approved the hire of Kristin Siskow, 0.7 FTE high school social studies teacher.
  • The board approved the hire of Zac Eichten as high school EBD teacher.
  • The board approved the 2014-15 fall and winter coaching and advising assignments.
  • The board approved the resignation of Natalie Bump, special education aide.
  • The board approved the resignation of Julie Mocadlo, physical education instructor.
  • The board approved the WERMC 66.0301 agreement for 2014-15.
  • The board approved the MidAmerica HRA Plan.
  • The board approved the increase to the new high school English position to 1.0 FTE from 0.6 FTE.
  • The board approved the 2014-15 graduation date, time and location. It is scheduled for Sunday, June 7, at 1 p.m. in the high school gymnasium.
  • District Superintendent Randy Rosburg reported that enrollment is down six students from last month.
  • Board member Tom Walters was elected to a second three-year term with CESA 11.
  • Board member Marie Colbeth called attention to Somerset’s dwindling enrollment in the music program and asked for information about Amery’s music program, which has considerably higher participation.
Jenny Hudalla
A senior at Bethel University, Jenny Hudalla is pursuing degrees in journalism, Spanish and reconciliation studies. Having graduated from New Richmond High School in 2011, she served as editor-in-chief of the Tiger Rag before taking a job as editor-in-chief of Bethel's student newspaper, The Clarion. After completing her internship with the New Richmond News, Hudalla plans to move on to a career in social justice.
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