MT. VERNON – Newly hired kindergarten teacher Ben Teriet is eager to begin his new job at the Primary Center and hopes to make a positive impact on his students' lives.
“I believe in setting high expectations for them and instilling a sense of self-worth in the students,” Teriet said. “I plan on staying positive and helping them develop their self-esteem so they're believing in themselves.”
Teriet was one of three new teachers hired by District 80 at the June 12 Board of Education meeting. The other two hires were Chris McCann and Denise Steffy, both of whom will teach at Casey Middle School.
The three new hires are replacing teachers who have left the district. Those departing teachers are Brian Shaw, Jennifer Sampson and Ashleagh Mendenhall.
“I think that all three of them are really good candidates,” said superintendent Mike Green. “They're all highly qualified. They'll be wonderful additions to the district.”
A Mt. Vernon native, Teriet graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in May. His job at the Primary Center will be his first teaching position after college.
McCann, who's also from Mt. Vernon, will teach physical education to all grades at Casey Middle School, as well as coaching 6th grade basketball.
He graduated from SIU-Edwardsville in May 2011. Prior to his new job at Casey, McCann was a substitute teacher and high school football coach. This will be his first full-time teaching job.
McCann's teaching philosophy can be summed up in one word – respect.
“It's all about respect,” McCann said. “I'm going to do my best to give 100 percent respect to the kids. I want to transform their lives and help them become better people.”
Steffy will teach special education, as well as co-teaching math and language arts, to 7th grade students. She previously taught 5th grade and special education at Dodds Grade School.
“I'm very excited,” Steffy said of her new job. “I'm glad to be part of a bigger district with more opportunities for students. … My main philosophy is to help each child meet their maximum potential.”
The District 80 Board also approved three teacher transfers, including Gena McKinzie, from 6th grade math to 8th grade math; Mike Koehnke, from Buford Intermediate School to the Primary Center; and Abby Engel, from Buford to Casey Middle School.
Other District 80 employment actions included:
n Approval of the hiring of assistant basketball coach Randall Knaak and head basketball and baseball coach Kent Stevens, both at Casey Middle School.
n Posting of an open position for a substitute speech pathologist.
n Approval of a new three-year contract with the Mt. Vernon Association of Classified Employees. This contract covers all District 80 employees who are not part of the teaching staff. The contract calls for a 2 percent raise for next year, a 1 percent raise for the year after that, and a one-half percent raise for the following year.