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Changes in administration at all levels of Culver Comm. Schools

June 7, 2014

Clockwise from upper left: Erin Proskey, Julie Berndt, Brett Berndt, Luke Biernacki.

A host of changes in faculty and administration at Culver Community Schools include a new face behind the principal's desk at Culver Elementary, and a sharing of the assistant principal and athletic director positions at Culver Comm. Middle and High Schools, among other changes.

In the elementary principal position this fall will be Erin Proskey, current elementary assistant principal.

Current elementary principal Chuck Kitchell, who has served at the post since 1997, will become Director of Operations/Focusing on Curriculum, according to Culver Comm. Schools superintendent Dr. Vicki McGuire.

"Chuck Kitchell will move into a role that will allow him to support all principals and teachers with implementation of the new state standards," says McGuire. "Mr. Kitchell will also be available for any principal who may need extra assistance with disciplinary issues or other areas that require support such as grounds and facilities. Mr. Kitchell has not been assigned as the Assistant Superintendent but will be a bridge of communication between central office and individual buildings."

Regarding Proskey's new title, McGuire says, "Mrs. Proskey has learned her skills through the guidance and direction of Mr. Kitchell. She is ready to continue with excellence in the Elementary Principal position. She knows the students and parents, which makes for a smooth transition."

"I am truly grateful that I have been given this wonderful opportunity," says Proskey. "As the Culver Elementary principal, I will work closely with the teachers, staff and parents to help students develop and achieve success in all areas of life -- socially, emotionally and most of all academically. Together we will stress the importance of good character, academic excellence, and leadership.

"My philosophy," she adds, "is respect yourself and others, appreciate individual differences, and work to your fullest potential. By practicing these ideals at a young age, students will lay the foundation to become a successful student as well as an amazing individual."

The position of assistant principal at Culver Elementary will be filled this August by current middle school principal Julie Berndt, who will also be the Title 1 Director for the corporation.

"Mrs. Berndt has extensive knowledge of the rules and regulations of the Title 1 program," explains McGuire. "Julie may also be involved with assisting the Athletic Director for the corporation, focusing on supervision of events and promoting positive community relations."

In the area of faculty, CES last week held a farewell party not only for Kitchell, but for three longtime teachers retiring as of the end of the school year: art teacher Joyce Lyman, kindergarten teacher Jean Urbin, and 4th grade teacher Leslie Shepard.

HIGH SCHOOL, MIDDLE SCHOOL CHANGES

As reported in last week's Culver Citizen, former high school dean of students Brett Berndt accepted the position of principal at CCHS, replacing current principal Albert Hanselman, who will be heading up the vocational cooperative for the multi-school group to which Culver belongs.

"We wish (Hanselman) the best of luck in the future," says McGuire.
The school chose to return to an earlier model in combining the high school and middle school principal positions, both of which Berndt will fill.

Moving up to the combined assistant principal and athletic director's post -- another return to an earlier administrative model -- will be Luke Biernacki, who has been with the corporation as an English teacher for six years.

Andy Thomas, the current Athletic Director, has resigned, notes McGuire.

Biernacki, she adds, "has done a very nice job in the teaching field and is excited to move into new challenges. We also wish Andy Thomas a very bright future."

McGuire points out that all sports for the upcoming school year are on schedule.

Says Biernacki: "I am honored and excited to continue my educational career in an administrative role with Culver Community Schools. The last six years at Culver have been the best of my professional career. An educational career is incredibly rewarding, and Culver Community Schools provide a wonderful opportunity for educators and students. I am excited to continue my career as an educator with the best students and staff around.

"I am fortunate," he adds, "to be surrounded by passionate students and a dedicated staff. I could not imagine a better place to continue my career. Although leaving the classroom as a teacher will be difficult because of my love for teaching, I look forward to the new challenges as the assistant principal/athletic director of Culver Community High School and Culver Community Middle School."

McGuire emphasizes that the middle school and high school will not be consolidated at this time.

"Enrollment has declined in the past few years and state funding is based on a 'per pupil' amount," she explains. "Therefore, adjustments must be made. By reassigning duties, we are able to more evenly distribute support for students and staff. I am blessed to work with such amazing educators who truly care about children. I consider all who are employed with CCSC as educators; they work with children in one way or another."

She adds that, "In order to grow and do what is best for students in any school corporation, change is inevitable. All outstanding school systems are continuously assessing to determine how to become even better than before and how to move forward in education and best practices.

"We have exceptional administrators and teachers at CCSC who are talented enough to be stationed anywhere throughout the school system and still make a positive difference in the lives of students.

"I am proud of an extraordinary group of colleagues who will most likely work in the following roles beginning 2014-2015 school year."

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