Dowagiac schools hires three administratorsPublished 10:14pm Monday, July 16, 2012
Dowagiac Union Schools welcomed three new school administrators Monday to fill vacancies that occurred at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year.
During the reorganizational meeting of the Dowagiac Union School Board of Education, Supt. Mark Daniel announced recommendations for Dowagiac Union High School (DUHS), Kincheloe Elementary School and Dowagiac Middle School (DMS) to welcome new administrators in the fall. The board subsequently approved Pieter Hoekstra, a former alternative education teacher with Marshall Public Schools in Marshall, as DUHS’ new principal; Cathy Stone, former elementary school principal at Penn-Harris-Madison District in Mishawaka, as principal at Kincheloe; and current Union Schools’ employee Nichole Hulett as DMS’ home school liaison.
Daniel spoke to each of the new hires’ talents, which aided the interview committees in their decisions.
“Pieter’s expertise is unique because of our population and the students we’re trying to reach,” Daniel said during the meeting. “We’re excited about his enthusiasm and intelligence.”
Hoekstra, who received his bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University and his master’s degree from Concordia University, said that while moving into administration can be overwhelming, he’s excited to begin the school year.
“I’m ready for it,” Hoekstra said after the meeting. “I’m excited to meet with the students, parents and staff … I think I can do some
Stone, who was an elementary principal at Bittersweet Elementary School in Mishawaka, Ind., lives in Edwardsburg and graduated from DUHS.
She received her bachelor’s degree from Anderson University in elementary education and received her master’s degree from Indiana University.
She said the opportunity to move into an administrative position feels “full circle.”
“It’s wonderful,” Stone said. “I’m looking forward to getting to know the kids and families.”
Daniel said, while Stone will have “big shoes to fill” at Kincheloe, the board is excited to have her.
“We know Cathy will do excellent job taking that (position) on,” Daniel said. “Her ability to work with data is right where we’re heading.”
Hulett, who has worked with the district for more than 12 years, said she pursued the administrative position and felt the need to continue forward.
“It was time for a change,” Hulett said. “I wanted to up my commitment to the district.”
Conner, who managed the interview process for all of the new administrators, will also help conduct interviews for a new principal at
Sister Lakes Elementary School after the resignation of Gretchen Hart.
Daniel said that Conner has helped conduct more than 24 interviews for the position.
“We’re nearing the end, though nothing is finalized at this time,” Daniel said.
Other district hires included Sonny Swartz as the new varsity boys/girls tennis coach; Bob Turner for math and social studies at DMS; Melissa Stanger for Spanish at DMS; Nora Mason for art at DMS; Lauren Leighton for life skills at DMS; Alicia Stout for fifth grade at Sister Lakes; Kelly Price for second grade at Justus Gage; and Tennille Smith for Justus Gage Title 1.