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WDC board makes personnel moves

Personnel issues dominated the September meeting of the Wadena-Deer Creek School Board.

New contracts were granted to Sheila Winkels (home economics), Kristina Witthuhn (early childhood education), Nancy Thull (speech articulation specialist), Deb Folkestad (developmental cognitive Disability), Wendy Porter (autism), Sue Scheiding (DCD) and Sarah Smith (developmental disability worker).

WDC elementary music specialist Deb Nelson was given the green light to pursue a trip to China in December. Nelson has been invited to take the trip by Lynn Brinkmeyer, past president of the Music Educators National Conference. Nelson will travel in a group that will study music curriculum in Chinese public schools, and also look at China's teacher training programs at the university level.

The board approved changes to the contracts of Dustin Gramstad and Tom VanErp. Gramstad was recently hired as an elementary music instructor. VanErp, who teaches physical education at the secondary school, will return to the post of head boys' basketball coach. VanErp coached basketball from 1997-2004. VanErp has been the head football coach for the past two seasons and despite the fact that the seasons run back-to-back, has no plans of leaving his football position.

"It will be a busy school year," VanErp said. "I'm excited abut it, my kids are excited about it and my wife is even kind of excited about it."

On the strong recommendations of school administrators, the board approved a resolution authorizing continued participation with the Community Concern for Youth Program. The program monitors 22 secondary students and seven elementary students at WDC. Working hand-in-hand with the school administration is Connie Landecker, a corrections officer with Todd and Wadena Counties who meets with the students and acts in a counseling capacity.

"It's a great program for us. I have some kids that sometimes don't listen to me but then I just call Connie," Church said.

The WDC golf program, which had to be dropped in an earlier budget-cutting move by the board, will reinstated but will receive a reduced level of funding. The balance will be paid for by the WDC golf fundraiser and concession stand receipts. The golf teams have continued to be varsity sports but have received private funding for the last two years.