Byron Public Schools welcomes 23 new staff members. Front Row: Janeen Eddie, Elsie Behnken, Jennifer Schmidt, Donita Stepan, Karen Adams, Carmel Zielske, Ashlee Sirek, Angela Johnson and Maureen Bernard. Back Row: Owen Hoegh, Janelle Groehler, Becky Martin, Tom Whalen, Chelsey Stadler, Olivia Hoekstra, Nathan Ostby, Brad Hess, Richard Caldwell and Barry Rink. Not pictured: Karen Adams, Stacy Kovash, Jenelle Fode, Lindsey Leffelman and Laura Hutton. Photo by Alex Long
By Alex Long
The Byron School District has hired 23 new staff members in the past year, evidence of the change and growth that has started to appear around town.
Many of those staff members will work exclusively at the Elementary School, which currently holds about 100 more students than recommended, according to a study done early this year.
As a result of the space issues, kindergarten is being moved to the Community Education Building.
The issue of space in our schools also caused the district to shut down open enrollment for grades K-8 and turn away 30 students who chose to open enroll in Byron.
For those nearly 1900 students that the district serves, the additional staff will provide a fantastic level of service and learning; a target which Byron strives to achieve and which many of the new staff members referenced in an online survey.
> "I have heard about some of the great things that the Byron teachers are doing in the classroom, and I wanted to be a part of it," said Donita Stepan, whose position as Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment is brand new to the district. "I'm thrilled to be here!"
> Among the positions which are being filled this year are a School Nurse for the High School and Community Education buildings, a new High School Counselor for students with last names A-K, a Special Education Coordinator for all schools, and a Kindergarten Secretary/ECSE Program Secretary. A full list is shown below.
> Jeneen Eddie: Special Education Coordinator
> Donita Stepan: Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
> Karen Adams: Early Childhood, Special Ed. Teacher
> Elsie Behnken: Special Ed. Secretary
> Stacey Kovash: Special Ed. Para
> Tom Whalen: 1st Grade Teacher
> Chelsey Stadler: 1st Grade Teacher
> Olivia Hoekstra: 1st Grade Teacher
> Angela Johnson: 3rd Grade Teacher
> Nathan Ostby: 4th Grade Teacher
> Jenelle Fode: Elementary School Tech Specialist
> Janelle Groehler: Elementary School Tech Teacher
> Carmel Zielske: Elementary Special Ed. Para
> Owen Hoegh: 8th Grade STEM/PLTW
> Ashlee Sirek: Middle School and High School Special Ed.
> Maureen Bernard: High School Secretary
> Lindsey Leffelman: Principal's Secretary
> Jennifer Schmidt: School Nurse
> Becky Martin: High School Counselor (Last Names A-K)