Chesterton Tribune



Duneland School system names Teachers and Employee of Year

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The Duneland School Corporation is proud to announce the winners of the 2020 “Teacher of the Year” and “Employee of the Year” Recognition Program.

The winners are: Elementary Teacher of the Year Š Cris Petro of Liberty Intermediate School; Secondary Teacher of the Year Š Robert DeRuntz of Chesterton High School; and Employee of the Year Š Nicole Moloney, Secretary at Bailly Elementary School.

Students, former students, parents, colleagues, administrators, and members of the community were asked to nominate a DSC teacher and/or classified employee for this recognition program earlier this year. A selection committee made up of DSC administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community members narrowed down the nominations and interviewed the final nominees before selecting a winner for each category.

Finalists in each of the categories:

Elementary Teacher of the Year - Sue Calkusic of Jackson Elementary, Joyce Goodwin of Liberty Elementary, Betsy Kazmierczak of Brummitt Elementary, Cathy Roles of Bailly Elementary, Becca Taylor of Yost Elementary, Nicole Wilson of Westchester Intermediate.

Secondary Teacher of the Year - Suzanne Amling of Chesterton MS, Vince Arizzi of Chesterton MS, Erin Cochran of Chesterton High School, Robyn McBride of Chesterton High School, Holly Williams of Chesterton High School.

Employee of the Year - Amanda Hicks, secretary at Chesterton Middle School, Ardie McKernin, nurse at Liberty Elementary, Faith Michael, media secretary at Westchester Intermediate, Mary Beth Whitmer, secretary/receptionist at Chesterton High School.

This year, due to social distancing, the winners were awarded at their homes or at their school by DSC administrators.

Each of the winners received a $500 monetary award from the following local sponsors: McColly Real Estate (Paul Boyter) Š Elementary Teacher of the Year; 1st Source Bank Š Secondary Teacher of the Year; Ellis Electric Inc. Š Employee of the Year.

In addition, a plaque honoring the winners will be on display at the Duneland School Corporation Administration Center.

Elementary Teacher of the Year

Cris Petro, is a fifth grade teacher at Liberty Intermediate, has been teaching for the Duneland School Corporation (DSC) since 1996. She received her Bachelor's degree in science from St. Joseph's College in 1991 and her Master's in Education from Indiana Wesleyan in 2011.

She began her DSC career at Bailly Elementary School as a fifth grade teacher for four years before moving to the fourth grade where she taught for 18 years. In 2018, Cris transferred to Liberty Intermediate School to be a fifth grade teacher.

As an educator, Cris has always been active in extracurricular clubs and activities with students. She is currently a robotics coach; playwriting, producing & Acting Club sponsor; Camp Invention instructor; Special Education Resource Fair Committee member and Agency sponsor/volunteer; intramural volleyball assistant and Military Care Packages and Letters sponsor.

Her accomplishments include: Runner Up for the June Scobee Rodgers National Innovative Educator Award; a four-time 5% Club Honored Educator; and International Student Media Festival Coach -- State Champs in 2004 & 2005 and Judges' Favorite at Internationals in 2005.

Secondary Teacher of the Year

Robert DeRuntz, is a Chesterton High School Social Studies teacher, has been teaching for Duneland Schools since 1995.

Bob studied European History and Law abroad in the Netherlands in 1992. In 1995, he received his Bachelor's degree in Education, History from Ball State University and a Master's degree in History in 2003 from Purdue University.

His accomplishments include an Eli Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowship in 2001 and 2014 and being selected as a 5% Club Honored Educator numerous times. For the past 20 years, Bob has traveled the U.S. with students in the Trail Bound program - a summer travel and learning experience for students to study our historic sites and hike our national parks.

Since 2003, he has constructed a living history Civil War encampment at CHS, through which 500 US History students are annually 'drafted' into the Union army. The Civil War Camp includes tents, equipment, period clothing, weapons and food cooked for the students over an open fire. This has become a CHS tradition that everyone looks forward to each year.

Bob has served as a member and a Building Representative of the Duneland Teachers Association for 25 years. For the past five years, he has served as the Chairman of Negotiations.

Employee of the Year

Nicole Moloney has worked for Duneland Schools since 2010. She began her career at Duneland as a lunch and recess aide at Bailly Elementary School and in 2013 she transitioned to administrative assistant to the principal.

Prior to coming to Duneland Schools, she was a medical office administrator for Associates in Neurology, PC in Valparaiso for six years. Nicole is a 1996 graduate of Chesterton High School.



Posted 5/12/2020




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