WELCOME ABOARD: Whitko announces new staff

PIERCETON — Committed to providing the best quality education and excellence for all, several leadership changes and retirements are on the horizon for the next school year at Whitko Community School Corporation. Superintendent Steve Clason introduced two new staff members and elaborated on retirements at it’s School Board of Trustees meeting Monday evening.Jason Ridge, currently an eighth-grade social studies teacher at Northridge Middle School and boy’s varsity basketball coach at Northridge High School in Middlebury, will take on the responsibilities as assistant principal at Whitko High School beginning with the 2012-2013 school year.Ridge has a Bachelor of Science in Education from IUPUI (Fort Wayne) and Master of Arts in Education Administration and Supervision from Ball State University.“I’m ready to make the shift here and I have no interest in being involved in basketball here at Whitko,” Ridge said. “My long term focus is to come in, learn and find a way to contribute.”“We are very excited to have Jason with us and are looking forward to his services,” Clason said.Ridge and his wife, Danelle, reside in Middlebury and have two children, Gemma, two-years old and Marcus is six-years old.Current WHS Assistant Principal David Parker has been with WCSC for two years and will step up to the position of WHS principal next year.Joining WCSC in 2000, Whitko Middle School Principal, Jerry Klausing, announced his retirement in March which will be effective at the end of the school year. Klausing has been instrumental in leading WMS through many curricular and structural changes.Filling the void left by Klausing, current WHS principal Parrish Kruger will become the new principal at WMS next year. Clason said this change will allow Kruger to further his educational leadership by continuing education in pursuit of an Educational Specialist Degree. Secondly, Kruger wants to broaden his experience by working with a different grade range of students, curriculum and educational staff.WHS boy’s head basketball coach, Rob Irwin, also announced his resignation in March which is effective at the end of the school year. Taking Irwin’s place is Scott Wessel who is currently the varsity assistant boys’ basketball coach at Lafayette Jefferson High School and Junior High School boys’ golf coach at Tecumseh Junior High School.“I’m excited, glad to be here and will work with some great people,” Wessel said. “I got a call from Coach Irwin about coming to Whitko.”“We welcome Scott to Whitko and are excited to have him here,” Clason said.Wessel has a Bachelor of Science and Physical and Health Education from Purdue University. He and his wife reside in West Layfayette.Sara St. Clair has been the schools nurse for the past seven years and will be leaving at the end of this school year.“Sara St. Clair did an excellent job,” Clason said. “We will miss her.”Janet Arnold will be retiring as transportation secretary at the end of June with approximately 40 years of dedicated service to WCSC. “Janet has done a good job for us,” Clason said. “We will miss Janet, she has done a good job for us in transportation and as secretary. We are investigating on how the best way is to fill these two positions and we are looking at several different options right now.”Other retirements and resignations include: Michelle Baker, resignation as art assistant at Pierceton Elementary School and South Whitley Elementary School); Crystal Zielasko, resignation as teacher at PES; John Carroll, resignation as eighth-grade boys’ basketball coach at WMS; Tim Smith, resignation as wrestling coach at WMS; Jamilyn PeGan, resignation as varsity softball coach at WHS; Vicki Troyer, math teacher at WHS effective with the 2012-2013 school year; Greta Wright, science teacher at WHS effective with the 2012-2013 school year; Brandy Veach, 504 assistant at SWES; Jennifer Krider, change from cheer sponsor at WMS to varsity cheer sponsor (one-half position) at WHS; and Shannon Deneve, cheer sponsor at WMS.