17 added to Wa-Nee staff

Above: (from left are the new Wa-Nee educators for the 2012-2013 school year: Front row — Kathy Stichter, Wakarusa Elementary, kindergarten; Brandy Hahn, Woodview Elementary, kindergarten; Bert Kuhn, Wakarusa Elementary, grade 3; Kris Fielstra, Wakarusa Elementary, guidance counselor; Chris Baldridge, Wakarusa Elementary, literacy coach; Casey Bough, NorthWood High School, physical education; Austin Miller, NorthWood Middle School, grade 8; and Stephanie Prickel, Wakarusa Elementary, grade 1; and back row — Brittany Harnish, Woodview, kindergarten; Megan Beron, Wakarusa Elementary, kindergarten; Jim Checkley, NorthWood Middle School, computer technology; Zac Lechlitner, NorthWood High School, industrial technology; Damon Hummel, NorthWood High School, industrial technology; A.J. Risedorph, NorthWood High School, social studies; Jay Sheets, Wakarusa Elementary, grade 3; and Brooke Wilson, NorthWood High School, Spanish. Below: John Payne is the new principal of Wakarusa Elementary School.

NAPPANEE — The doors of every school in the Wa-Nee district will swing open to welcome students back to class Friday, Aug. 17. 
And among the sea of students and staff, there will be a number of teachers who’ve just arrived to the local teaching community, enthusiastically poised to begin the 2012-13 academic year in their new classroom duties. The latest additions to the regional faculty roster were given several days worth of orientation earlier this month, and a wealth of gifts and greetings were bestowed upon them from the Wa-Nee commerce sector. The list of educators features quite a bit of diversity, including those who are new contributors to Wa-Nee’s educational team, some who have already achieved recognition through temporary teaching assignments in the area, and those for whom teaching has become something of a family tradition.
Following are the teachers who will be joining the Wa-Nee family of educators, along with some details about their careers and personal backgrounds, as well where they’ll be situated for the 2012-13 school year:
• Chris Baldridge — literacy coach, Wakarusa Elementary Bald ridge has worked previously for the Elkhart Community Schools as an instructional coach, guiding students in many grade levels.  She has amassed a great deal of experience in assisting both youngsters and adults with their academic skills.
• Megan Beron — kindergarten, Wakarusa Elementary
 Beron comes to Wa-Nee by way of the Penn-Harris-Madison system, where she formerly taught kindergarten. She was a member of the Kappa Delta Pi sorority while studying at Huntington College. Beron was also named to a recent edition of “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities,” and one of her submitted quotes was chosen for publication in Forbes magazine.
• Casey Bough — Physical Education, NorthWood High
Bough is a graduate of Indiana University, where she earned her degree in physical education. During this summer, she taught physical education for the Penn-Harris-Madison district, and also found time to participate in the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon.
• Jim Checkley — sixth grade computer application, NorthWood Middle
Checkley was recently a teacher of practical arts for a school facility in Gary, Ind. A graduate of Bethel College, he is experienced in integrating science, math, reading, writing, and social studies into the lessons he shares in his computer classes.
• Kris Fielstra — guidance counselor, Wakarusa Elementary
Fielstra has a master’s degree in school guidance counseling, which she earned from Indiana University of South Bend. She previously taught fifth grade at Smith-Green Community Schools and in the Jimtown district. Fielstra and her husband, Larry, have three daughters, two of whom are students at NorthWood High School, while the youngest is a student at Wakarusa Elementary.
• Brandy Hahn — kindergarten, Woodview Elementary
Hahn is returning to teach in the district from which she graduated high school. After her days at NorthWood High, she earned a degree in elementary education, with an endorsement in kindergarten, from Indiana University of South Bend. Hahn recently taught kindergarten in the Concord school system, where she was involved with intervention and strategy teams.  She also participated in several types of professional development activities.
• Brittany Harnish — kindergarten, Woodview Elementary
 Harnish is a graduate of Concord High School and Ball State University, the latter being the place where she achieved her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, with a minor in interpersonal relationships. She recently worked as an instructional assistant, and was fortunate to have had an opportunity to study in Australia, where she volunteered in a first grade classroom.
• Damon Hummel — industrial tech, NorthWood High
    Hummel is not only new to this teaching position, but also to the NorthWood sports department, as he takes over the helm of the wrestling program as head coach. Hummel is a graduate of Ball State University, and has previously taught Industrial Technology in the Indianapolis area.
• Bert Kuhn — third grade, Wakarusa Elementary
    Kuhn is already a familiar face around Wakarusa Elementary, as she has previously filled in for two teachers who were on maternity leave. She earned her teaching degree from Indiana University of South Bend in December of 2011.
• Zac Lechlitner — industrial tech, NorthWood High
    Lechlitner is another staffer who’ll be returning to his former school and hometown.  He is a native of Wakarusa, and he has graduated from both NorthWood High School and Purdue University.
• Austin Miller — eighth grade, NorthWood Middle
Miller is a graduate of Westview High School, where he was involved in multiple sports and educationally based activities. He went on to graduate from Indiana University - Purdue University of Fort Wayne.
• John Payne — principal, Wakarusa Elementary
Payne is a graduate of Bethel College, where he was a standout student in both the classroom and on the basketball courts, as a member of the Bethel Pilots. Payne has spent time as an elementary school teacher and most recently served as the principal of Woodland Elementary School in Elkhart.
• Stephanie Prickel — first grade, Wakarusa Elementary
Prickel knows her way around the Wakarusa Elementary campus, as she has often been tapped to fulfill long-term leaves from various staffers of the Wa-Nee district. She is a graduate of Ball State University, and has worked as an Intervention Specialist.
• Aaron Risedorph — social studies, NorthWood High
Risedorph is a graduate of Indiana University - Purdue University of Fort Wayne. He was previously employed by East Noble Middle School in Kendallville, where he also taught Social Studies. Risedorph was also involved in a number of student oriented causes, including coaching, Student Council, and various committees.
• Jay Sheets — third Grade, Wakarusa Elementary
Sheets is a NorthWood alum who earned his degree in Elementary Education from Manchester College. Sheets has appeared in the district as a substitute teacher and also to take over the classroom for a Wakarusa Elementary educator on maternity leave. He also currently serves as the Junior Varsity baseball coach for NorthWood High.
• Kathy Stichter — kindergarten, Wakarusa Elementary
Stichter obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in education from Indiana University of South Bend, along with a reading endorsement. She is also a graduate of NorthWood High School. Stichter has assisted with classroom duties at Wa-Nee while two teachers departed for maternity leave, and she has spent two years teaching in the Title I reading program.
• Brooke Wilson — Spanish, NorthWood High
Wilson has spent a great deal of time traveling, making her well suited to share her bilingual abilities with students. She recently taught for the Goshen Community Schools and she is a graduate of Indiana University of South Bend.