WATERLOO — The DeKalb Central school board Tuesday voted to hire Alisa Smith as the next principal of McKenney-Harrison Elementary School.
Smith, of Auburn, will replace Marcus Wagner, who will become principal at DeKalb High School. The board approved a 215-day contract for Smith, beginning July 1, with a salary of $81,458 and an administrative benefit package of $22,500.
Smith has been in education for 17 years, both as a teacher and administrator. Her most recent experience came as principal at South Side Elementary School in the East Noble school corporation. Prior to that she was assistant principal at East Noble High School. She also taught at the former Avilla Middle School and at schools in Florida, where her husband, Ryan, was serving in the Air Force.
In 2017, she took a break from her career in education to be home with her children, Emma, who is completing sixth grade at DeKalb Middle School, and Adam, who is completing fourth grade at McKenney-Harrison, she said. While home with her children, Smith has volunteered in their classrooms and with Junior Achievement.
Smith graduated from East Noble High School in 1994 and obtained a degree in English and U.S. history and a master’s degree in administration from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne.
“She is passionate about students. She comes highly recommended from her former district and from many individuals that I collaborate with both personally and professionally,” said DeKalb Central Superintendent Steve Teders. “Characteristics and qualities used to describe her include the ability to create powerful and lasting relationships, passion for her students, helping everyone be successful, flexible, optimistic, excellent communicator, extremely personable, energetic and many others.”
Teders said three “extensive and rigorous” rounds of interviews were conducted, which included stakeholders ranging from staff and parents to administrators and school board member Tim Haynes.
Teders said the district received and reviewed applications from multiple candidates for the position, but felt that only one was of a high enough caliber to bring in for a building interview.
Haynes said that while Smith was the only candidate being interviewed for the position, it did not take long to realize that she was the right person for the job.
“You only need one if you’ve got a great one, and we’ve got a great one,” Haynes added.
“I’m just completely honored to serve the community where we live and conduct our daily lives,” Smith said.
Also Tuesday night:
The district will seek two appraisals for a property next to the middle- and high-school campus. Teders said the owner of 9.13 acres on C.R. 31 is interested in selling the property, which is just north of a property recently purchased by the district.
“Although the district was not actively seeking additional property, I do believe it is responsible to explore opportunities like this when approached by a neighbor,” Teders said.
He said the property holds potential for the FFA and agriculture programs and also future expansion of programming on the grades 6-12 campus.
The board also will seek rezoning to industrial for its recently purchased property on C.R. 31. The majority of the house on the property will be used for the tech department. The beauty shop attached to the house and the family room of the house will be used for the district clinic. The detached shop will house the district’s grounds crew.
The board approved two new high school courses — advanced speech and communication and AP computer science principles — for the 2019-2020 school year.
The board voted to accept a $5,000 grant from the James Foundation the help fund a middle school educational field trip to Wrigley Field in Chicago. The board also voted to accept a $1,250 grant for extracurricular club activities and supplies at McKenney-Harrison and a $1,000 grant for the Waterloo pre-kindergarten garden project, both from DeKalb’s VOICE.
The board approved food service vendors for bread and dairy for the 2019-2020 school year. Prairie Farms will continue to be the district’s dairy distributor. New for 2019-2020, Alpha Bakery will be the district’s bakery distributor.
Board President Heather Krebs was selected to fill a position on the DeKalb County Central United School District Foundation. The position previously was held by former board member Mark Eck.
In personnel matters, the board accepted the resignations of: high school Academic Super Bowl math coach Barbara Oneal; high school student government adviser Kelsey Pierce; J.R. Watson paraprofessional Julia Garman; middle school paraprofessional Jen Benbow; district nurse Catina LaMotte; middle school paraprofessional Barb Ober; middle school teacher Chelsie Rogier; J.R. Watson and Waterloo music teacher Magdalena Keller; sixth-grade girls basketball coach Jeremy Pfister; eighth-grade volleyball coach Donnetta Betley; middle school paraprofessional Mary Brown; McKenney-Harrison paraprofessional Christie Skidmore; half-time high school track and field coach Nathan Brown; and high school track coach Emily Kraus.
The board went on to approve the appointments of: middle school language arts teacher Logan Williams; middle school media center paraprofessional Denise Kever; high school library paraprofessional Tim Yoder; eighth-grade volleyball coach Hollee Kubiszak; County Meadow preschool teacher Amy Billings; Country Meadow special education teacher Amanda Seaman; McKenney-Harrison second-grade teacher Stephanie Kanouse; McKenney-Harrison fourth-grade teacher Brandi Mickelson; McKenney-Harrison special education teacher Taya Poynter; middle school seventh-grade social studies teacher Carli Vose; J.R. Watson kindergarten teacher Judy Wakefield; J.R. Watson third-grade teacher Brandi Snider; J.R. Watson preschool teacher Jennifer Sullivan; high school varsity track coed assistant coach Nathan Brown; high school second assistant softball coach Raihanne Garrett; high school food service employee Linda Weyrick; J.R. Watson first-grade teacher Amanda McGrew; and high school special education teacher Trish Harrison.