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Geltmaker, York announce retirements

Geltmaker, York announce retirements Geltmaker, York announce retirements
Kaitlyn Clay, Staff Writer, [email protected]

The South Harrison Community School Corp. Board of Trustees were saddened to approve the resignations of two corporation employees at their meeting last Tuesday evening.

Tami Geltmaker, the director of curriculum, instruction and assessment submitted her resignation for retirement purposes, as did Karen York, assistant principal at Corydon Central High School.

Board president Mary Mathes said it will be a hard task to replace both of these leaders, and all members noted how they will be terribly missed.

“We can find other qualified people for these positions,” Mathes said. “However, I don’t know if they will ever be able to fill the shoes of what Tami has done for our corporation in the midst of this pandemic or help lead a school the way Karen has.”

Superintendent Dr. Mark Eastridge took a moment at the meeting to congratulate and present the board with the 2019 Exemplary Governance Award from the Indiana State School Board Association.

The Exemplary Governance Award is the highest award a school board can earn. According to the association’s website, this distinction is earned “by validating exemplary board service by showing evidence of leadership and governance effectiveness, student achievement initiatives, continuous improvement, strategic planning and policy review.” A school board that earns this award will have clearly demonstrated “how training and professional development translates into greater governance performance through effective leadership.”

Eastridge said he was extremely proud of the work the board members put in behind the scenes to constantly be learning strategies to improve South Harrison schools and noted this award was well earned.

Corydon Elementary School principal Nissa Ellett and assistant principal Sandra Joseph joined the meeting via video conference to update the board on various initiatives CES has taken during the 2020-21 school year, saying they have tried their hardest to create a sense of normalcy for students during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One area of service Ellett noted of being most proud of was their special-needs program they revamped this school year. The program has three resource rooms it utilizes, each for something separate. One room is for kids to be pulled into in small groups to tackle most academic goals, while another focuses on improving expected behaviors like how to handle and work through frustrating situations. The third room is where students with higher-functioning forms of autism are able to be assisted.

The school has also acquired a human-like robot named Milo that works with students with autism to increase their verbal interaction and help them point out emotions through facial expressions.

“Our teachers have done an amazing job at walking our students through something we call the frustration triangle,” Ellett said. “Our students are getting better every day at figuring out what is triggering a break down or why they are acting out and then can find ways to cope and calm themselves down while also reframing the situation to be a positive one. It makes you just say, ‘Wow,’ when you see the work our teachers have accomplished this year with our special-needs program.”

Keith Marshall, principal at Corydon Central High School, joined the meeting to virtually introduce the board members to Jenny Lin, the 2021 Lilly Endowment Community Scholar recipient.

According to Geltmaker, six of the last seven Lilly Scholars of Harrison County have come from South Harrison Community schools, something school officials are extremely proud of.

Lin plans to attend Indiana University and become a primary care physician.

The next board meeting is set for Tuesday, March 2, at 7 p.m. at the corporation office in Corydon.