A host of new teachers will greet Thayer Central students as they head back to school Wednesday. Seven new instructors as well as an elementary aide with educational experience from one year to 24 years will head up classrooms from Kindergarten through 12th grade while two teachers will instruct special education, and one will direct the after school program.
At the elementary level, first-year teacher Samantha Parolek, of Clarkson, will instruct the third grade while first-year teacher Rhonda Starbuck, of Hebron, will instruct second grade. Starbuck, who has been employed by the district for a decade, recently earned her teaching certificate.
Becky Kleveland, who grew up in Chester and has 24 years of teaching experience will be the new fourth grade teacher this year. She comes back home from Centralia, Mo., where she taught for nine years.
At the high school level, both Jacey Oschner and Melissa Dux will begin their teaching careers. Oschner, who owns and runs the business Blu•J in Hebron, will teach Family Consumer Science, while Dux, of Reynolds, will teach business and FBLA classes.
Ryan Waters, who comes to the area from Lexington where he taught for eight years, will teach high school art. Waters is the son-in-law of Deshler Public Schools principal Jack Waite.
Louis Keim, who comes to Thayer Central from Johnson County Central, will teach science.
In special education, Jacie Hardin, who comes to Thayer Central from Elkhorn, will instruct the Junior High classes, while seven-year para-educator Tina Kyker will start a new program. “Holding the classes here will be economically feasible for Thayer Central,” said Superintendent Drew Harris. “We’ve always bussed the students to York, and now we’ll be able to keep them home with the new program.”
Finally, Chrissy Engle will direct the After School Program this year and Amy Neff, who has past employment experience with Thayer Central, returns as an elementary aide.
High School sports coaches were also named for the 2012-13 school year including returning football coach Josh Lanik who begins his third year at Thayer Central. Clint Havel, Louis Keim and Justin Bomar will assist Lanik as the first game gets underway Aug. 24 at home against Johnson County Central.
Havel will head up the boys’ basketball program this year with Drew Onnen and Kent Cottam as assistants.
Veteran coach Kurk Wiedel and assistant Carlece Kenner return to lead the Titans volleyball program while Andy Long takes on the Cross Country duties. Volleyball begins at home Thursday, Aug. 30, against Tri County while the cross country team heads to Superior that same day.
Long also serves as head coach of the girls’ basketball program with Jacey Hardin as assistant.
For wrestling, Brett Larson returns with Josh Bower as his assistant and in track, Bryan Solomon will coach the boys’ team while Deb Vorderstrasse will coach the girls. Husband and wife team Andy and Sue Long will assist both coaches.
Finally, Thayer Central high school principal Tom Kiburz and veteran coach Randy Mesloh will lead the golf team.
With the completion of Thayer Central’s new track, the district was able to move the football field closer to home. High school football games have been held at the Hebron Sports Complex next to Riverside Park for many years. With the track and field renovation, football games will now be held at the school’s campus.
“This is Phase 2 of the overall plan,” said Superintendent Drew Harris. “The entire project includes extending the main parking lot to the north as well as the addition of field lights and grandstand seating.” While the extra parking, lights and field are ready to go, new grandstands are still under construction. “We anticipate completion by the end of the month,” Harris said and added that the school will initiate the new field on Sept. 14 with its homecoming football game.