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Sandy Valley begins new year with new leadership

By Walter Doerschuk The Press-News Published: August 14, 2013 10:00 AM
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MAGNOLIA-- Sandy Valley Local Schools begin the new school year on Aug. 19 with new leadership at the very top.

David Fischer will begin his first year as superintendent of the district after he was hired this summer.

Fischer, who previously taught in the district, is glad to be back.

"I'm very excited," Fischer said. "I look forward to returning to Sandy Valley, and I hope to make a tradition of excellence."

At Sandy Valley High School, Matt Whitted starts his first year as principal after previously holding the assistant principal position. Whitted is also eager to get the school year underway.

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"I am so excited to be the principal at Sandy Valley," he said. "For me to be named the principal of the school that I graduated from and the community that I grew up in truly is a dream come true.

"My goal as principal is to continue the tradition of excellence Sandy Valley has become used to and to raise the bar so that Sandy Valley Local Schools become one of the best schools in the county."


Jason Dixon will step into the role of assistant principal for grades 6-12. Dixon will also serve as district special education coordinator, and Diane Johnson was added as the new special education director.

New teachers to the high school include social studies teacher Zach Gardner, English teacher Michael Seibert, art teacher Kaila Bigler and tutor Greg Donohue.

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At the middle school, Anthony Pentello has been added as a seventh grade language arts teacher, Kaila Bigler is a new art teacher, Shelly Crowe is a new tutor and Jennifer Krisher and Daniel Robinson have both been aded as intervention specialists.

A lot of changes have been made personnel wise at Sandy Valley Elementary School as well. Not every teacher is new, but some teachers will be at different grade levels.

"Third through fifth grade is going to look different," said Vic Johnson, the prinicpal at the elementary school. "Half of our teachers are different."

Chelsea Shoemaker and Mitzi Lorenz are both new third grade teachers. Jarod Hawk and Jacob Gamber have been added to the school as fifth grade teachers.

Carol Wheeler, who was previously a fifth grade teacher, moves to fourth grade.

Other new personnel at the elementary level include preschool teacher Kellie Geiger, learning support teacher Courtney Geiger and secretary Michelle Parker.


Sandy Valley Elementary will enter its second year using the Wilson Reading program for students in third fourth and fifth grades.

The program provides small-group intervention to help students get where they need to be with their literacy skills.

"We were pretty strong with it last year," Johnson said. "Our teachers went for training for it, and this year we are going to go full swing."

The school will also help kindergarten students get acclimated to their new surroundings.

Separate thirds of students will attend the first three days of school with their parents Aug. 19, 20 and 21. Pre-school screenings will be taking place the entire first week of school as well.

Also of note at the elementary school is a meeting for any students interested in band is set for Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. A dental sealant program will take place Sept. 9-13, conferences are scheduled for Oct. 2 and 3 and picture days are Oct. 23 and 24.


At Sandy Valley Middle School, seventh grade students will need to have Tdap immunization shots for the new year. The immunizations help prevent pertussis or a whooping cough.

Records from physicians stating the exact date that the shot was received should be sent to the school nurse.


Other notes about the new school year are as follows:

Students will be looking at new lunch prices. Middle school and high school lunch trays now cost $2.75, and elementary trays will cost $2.25. Milk will cost $.40. Adult lunches are $3.50.

The district has hired a new technology integration specialist. The technology specialist will teach two electives at the high school and will assist teachers with technology throughout the remaining part of the day.

Supply lists for all students in grades 6-12 will be provided by individual teachers on the first day of school. More information on school supply lists can be found at www.svlocal.org. Supply lists for elementary students can also be found on the school district's website.

Transportation changes for students were set to be mailed out early this month.

Homerooms will be posted on the rotunda when students arrive for their first day on Aug. 19.

The district was set to help all students get ready for the new school year with a district-wide open house on Aug. 14.

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