The Upper Sandusky Exempted Village School District welcomes eight new employees into a wide range of positions and to all of its buildings except for South Elementary School.
New to the district this school year are high school guidance counselor John Boyd, Union sixth grade social studies teacher Emily Coakley, East intervention specialist Torry Fillmore, high school ED teacher Gretchen Koslosky, Union intervention specialist Courtney Liming, high school alternative classroom and A-Plus coordinator Patrick Massara, East kindergarten teacher Amy McPheron and district school psychologist Tim Watson.
Boyd comes to Upper Sandusky after having spent the last four years at Leipsic High School, where he was a guidance counselor for fifth through 12 grades. He will concentrated on ninth and 10th grades at Upper Sandusky High School.
“That’s a fun group to work with,” he said. “There’s a lot of great changes and new developments going on in their lives and they’re really my preference of an age group to work with.”
Originally from Mansfield, Boyd graduated from Madison High School in 2000 and then got both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bowling Green State University.
He said he came to Upper Sandusky “to be closer to family and friends and to continue on in the great reputation that Upper Sandusky has for serving its students.”
Boyd said he hopes to help students in every area of need.
“I look forward to advocating for students in the grades nine and 10, making sure they’re reaching their personal, social and academic goals, making sure that they’re on track for their goals,” he said.
Just four years ago, Coakley graduated as valedictorian of Upper Sandusky High School and now she is back serving in the district after graduating from the University of Toledo.
“When I was at Toledo, I always said if something would open up here in my subject areas, social studies and English, that I would go ahead and interview for it,” she said. “It just so happened that sixth grade social studies opened up. That’s what I did my student teaching in, so I went ahead and interviewed and got the job and I’m excited to be here.”
She said she was looking for jobs anywhere from sixth to eighth grade, but figured her experience in sixth grade might give her the best chance of getting a job at that level.
The social studies concentration in sixth grade is ancient civilization.
Coakley said she plans to put into use a lot of technology this school year.
“Right now, we have a Smartboard in the classroom,” she said. “We have an iPad, a smart response system. I like implementing a lot of that into my lesson planning and getting the kids learning through technology.”
After graduating from Mohawk High School in 2005, Fillmore went to Ohio State University and got a degree in geology, but he did not make a career out of it.
“I decided teaching was more of my thing,” he said.
He furthered his education at the University of Findlay and will be working with East Elementary students who need extra help in reading and math, his concentration at UF.
He became familiar with the Upper Sandusky district through his college experiences.
“I was very fortunate,” he said. “I did my methods at the high school and then I did my student teaching at South Elementary. The principal kind of knew me, so when the job came up, I kind of had an in there.”
Fillmore said he is excited to have the chance to get to know those in the district even better.
“I look forward with working with the staff, working with the parents and working with the students, as well,” he said.
After a year in Columbus, Koslosky wanted to come back home to the area and to teaching.
“I moved back to the Tiffin area and I know this job well and am comfortable in it and I miss the students,” she said.
Originally from Tiffin, Koslosky has taught in both the Mohawk and Lakota school districts after getting her degree in special education from Bowling Green State University.
She said her responsibilities in the high school are plentiful.
“They include keeping up with the students and their academic work, keeping them motivated and keep pushing them so they are current and maintaining some social and emotional balance for them and helping them do better on their own,” she said.
Koslosky said she looks forward to familiarizing herself with her students and co-workers this year.
“I want to get to know all the students,” she said. “They’ll all be new for me this year. Then getting to know the staff also.”
Liming is from Springfield and went to college at Wittenberg University, but a connection to Upper Sandusky might have helped her get a job at Union Elementary.
“I applied everywhere,” she said. “I had multiple interviews. My university adviser supervisor, Amy McGuffey, knows (Principal) Janine (McMillan), so she gave her my name and I submitted my stuff and they called me for an interview.”
Liming will work with students who need extra help in third through fifth grades, “making sure the (individualized education plan) goals for each of my students are carried out and implementing my lessons, going into the classroom and seeing if they need any help. I pull them out for reading and for language arts in smaller studies.”
More than anything, she said she wants her students to enjoy their education experiences.
“When I went to school, I had a teacher that changed my life and made me love school and I just want my students to love school as much as I did — make it fun and make them love learning like I did,” she said.
Massara served for the past year as a staff writer at The Daily Chief-Union before he got an opportunity to get into education.
“I was actually contacted by the school about a new position that was open and it’s a great opportunity working with computers and still having the teaching aspect, creating the online program for the kids,” he said. “It caught my eye and went from there.”
He will work with students in in-school suspension and facilitate the district’s new A-Plus program.
“Responsibilities are in-school suspension and then being the new A-Plus program coordinator,” Massara said. “Basically, if a student were to fail a class or get behind, I would create an online special program to help them catch up so they can get credit recovery.”
A USHS graduate, Massara got his bachelor’s degree from Ohio Northern University.
Eventually, he said, he would like to take the necessary steps toward being a teacher.
“I’ll need to take some classes, but as for now, where I’m at, I’m happy,” he said.
McPheron made her way from Kenton to Lakeland, Fla., for college, but decided it was time to come back home to Ohio after graduating with her degree in elementary education.
She said she is attracted to the rural atmosphere that she grew up in.
“I like that is mildly close to home, but I like the rural background of Upper Sandusky,” McPheron said. “I grew up in a rural community, so I appreciate farming. My grandpa was a farmer. I like the community.”
She spent the past year as a substitute teacher before getting the East Elementary kindergarten job.
“I’m really excited about this year,” she said.
With students just beginning school, McPheron has a chance to be a major influence.
“I’m most excited about teaching them to love school and valuing each other and being kind to each other,” she said.
Watson has been all over the country — and elsewhere in the world — but has decided that this area is where he wants be.
“I really love psychology in rural areas,” he said. “That’s what I really enjoy.”
Originally from Barbados, Watson got his doctorate in school psychology from Alfred University in New York and interned in Colorado before serving for the last four years at the Hardin County Educational Service Center.
“I have two kids. I’ve kind of settled down here,” he said. “I was in Hardin County and I was looking around and Upper had an opening and I applied.”
He will work with students — and teachers — in all of the district’s buildings.
“A lot of what I do is communication with teachers about behavioral and academic problems and how to best counsel them,” Watson said.
He also said he would like to get involved with the bowling program the school is trying to get started.
By LONNIE McMILLAN