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Wakefield-Marenisco board accepts several resignations


May 1, 2018


Marenisco — The Wakefield-Marenisco Board of Education voted to accept resignations from one teacher and two coaches at its Monday meeting at the Marenisco Town Hall.

The board meets twice a year in Marenisco, with the next meeting in that community on Oct. 22.

Connie Hellman, the district’s high school special education teacher, submitted her resignation for reasons of retirement.

In a letter to the board, Hellman said her job has been “a pleasure” and offered to help train her replacement if needed.

Nicole Ribich, of Wakefield, resigned from her district position as the girls’ junior varsity basketball coach.

In her resignation letter, Ribich said she has “truly enjoyed each season” of her three years as a coach.

Bruce Mahler of Marenisco also resigned as district coach for the girls’ varsity basketball team.

In his letter, Mahler said he cannot continue the district responsibility while also coaching for GCC’s new men’s baseball program, starting in the 2018-19 year.

Mahler specifically praised district athletic director Mark Lane, noting, “It’s been truly a joy to work with him.”

“They put in a lot of hours,” said trustee Dan Obradovich. “Their work is appreciated.”

Board president Brad Dalbec said letters of appreciation would be sent, and superintendent Cathy Shamion said all three positions will be posted today.

Shamion also recommended the board hire John Stone, a Bessemer insurance agent, as coach for the district’s junior varsity baseball team.

Pending a standard background check, the board voted unanimously to hire Stone, who was the sole applicant for the job.

In other news, Shamion said the State of Michigan Standardized Test is proceeding well with the district’s students.

“M-Steps are off to a flying start,” said Shamion. “I will say they seem to be doing their best. They seem to be taking it seriously.”

The state’s Department of Education describes the M-STEP on its website as “a 21st Century online test given for the first time in the Spring of 2015. It is designed to gauge how well students are mastering state standards.”

The description continues, “These standards, developed for educators by educators, broadly outline what students should know and be able to do in order to be prepared to enter the workplace, career education training, and college.”

Brandon Makela, one of Wakefield-Marenisco’s two head teachers, wrote in his April report to the board, “As a school, we have put forth lots of time and energy promoting this test. Classes have been creating motivational messages to other classes that are testing. It has been a very positive experience for our school and hopefully it will show when we get our results.”

Shamion said M-STEP testing of grades 3, 4, 6 and 7 began Monday and will continue through May 25. Computerized test results will be available in the fall, she said.

Makela also praised the student body for “doing a great job representing our school district” at the school’s recent prom at Indianhead Ski Resort.

In addition, he commended Amanda Lopac, English-Language Arts teacher, and Lauren Korpi, health and physical education teacher, for their organization of the prom.

In other news, the board also:

—Voted to approve the May 25 graduation of 20 seniors, contingent on them meeting all graduation requirements per the district and the Michigan Department of Education.

—Voted to approve a personal curriculum plan for a special needs student who is expected to graduate from high school after continuing education this summer.

—Heard from Shamion that an April 13 incident of vandalism, in the form of “inappropriate painting” on the outside of the school building, had been turned over to the Gogebic County Sheriff’s Department.

—Voted at the end of the meeting to enter a closed session for union negotiations that included consideration of a contract for 2018-19 superintendent Jason Gustafson.

District calendar events include the following:

A senior banquet will be held on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Wakefield VFW.

The school’s spring concert will be on May 15 at 6 p.m. at the school.

The next board of education meeting will be on May 21 at 5 p.m. in the board chambers of the Wakefield-Marenisco K-12 School.


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