It’s back to school time


More students ready to return to class

Marcus Bixler Russia principal

Marcus Bixler Russia principal


Stacey Stetler New Knoxville third-grade teacher


Mayleigh Lane, left to right, 7, of Jackson Center, daughter of Wanda and Perry Lane, talks with Jackson Center Elementary Principal Ginger Heuker, of Botkins, after arriving at the front entrance of Jackson Center Local Schools for the first day of school Tuesday, Aug. 14. Looking on is pre K teacher Brooke Luthman, of Anna.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

More school bells are ringing as more students return to the classrooms in their school districts.

Riverside Local Schools

Riverside Local Schools District’s first day of classes is Wednesday, Aug. 15, for students in first-grade through 12th-grade. The first day of preschool and kindergarten classes for girls is Aug. 20. The first day of preschool and kindergarten classes for boys is Aug. 21. On Aug. 22, all preschool and kindergarten students will be in class..

New staff members for the 2018-19 school year include Aaron Brown, middle school and high school music; Jessica Egbert, fourth-grade; Morgan Herron, fifth-grade; Haleigh James, first-grade; Hannah Meyer, high school math; and Andrea Watts, gifted teacher.

According to Superintendent Scott Mann, the new administration officers are now located in a modular on the school campus.

Upper Valley Career Center

Juniors and seniors attending Upper Valley Career Center in Piqua will head back to school this week. The first day of classes for the juniors will be Thursday, Aug. 16. The first day for the seniors will be Friday, Aug. 17,

New staff members on the Piqua campus include David Heintz, math; Kelly Inman, counselor; Erin McGaharan, counselor; Cynthia Geyer, vet science paraprofessional; Libby Long, early childhood paraprofessional; Alexander Federinko, English; Anne Wendeln, math; and Catherine Sutherly, student teacher from Urbana.

New satellite staff members are Jame Friend, FCS at Piqua High School; and Jennifer Bertke, exploring technology at Piqua High School. New assignments include Naomi Baker, career advancement; Heidi Heuing, special needs paraprofessional; and Jeremy Kettering, pre-engineering at the main campus.

“The Upper Valley Career Center is continuing the grow in number of students served at our main campus in Piqua, as well as through satellite programs in our 14 associate schools. Career and technical education is helping meet the needs of our local workforce as well as the interests of our students. We are ready and excited for another year of career-focused education,” said Superintendent Dr. Nancy Luce.

Fairlawn Local Schools

The first day of school for Fairlawn Local School students will be Tuesday, Aug. 21. An open house for all students attending school will be Thursday, Aug. 16, from 4 to 7 p.m.

“At the open house, we will be opening the district’s newly renovated media center. It will be called the ‘Hanger!’ said Superintendent Jeff Hobbs.

“The program features Fairlawn partnering with the Workforce Development of Shelby County, Upper Valley Career Center, 4-H and several local businesses to create a space that will focus on classes with a career exploration focus, teaching students soft employability skills and serve as a meeting place for businesses and organizations in our community,” said Hobbs. “Space will still serve as library for elementary students and will have an elementary side and a middle school/high school side.”

Jason Hemmelgarn is the only new teacher at the school this year. He will be teaching high school math.

The Fairlawn Fall Festivall is being planned for October.

New Knoxville Local Schools

New Knoxville students will return to the classroom on Tuesday, Aug. 21. Back to school night for students in kindergarten through the sixth-grade will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 20.

Stacey Stetler is the new third-grade teacher at New Knoxville. Her husband, Matt, coaches soccer and basketball at the school. They are the parents of two daughters.

“Big projects this summer included the sealing and striping of our parking lots and playground areas,” said Superintendent Kim Waterman. “An upgrade to our wireless network will be completed, which will allow for more efficiency with increase of the wireless devices. With the generous donation from the Kuhlman family we were able to purchase approximately 125 HP Chromebooks and storage carts, and NKTelco donated an additional $7,000 to purchase another 25 and a cart. We so appreciate their generosity.

“The entire staff has worked hard to prepare for the first day of school, and I want to sincerely thank them for their time and effort,” said Waterman. “It takes everyone to make this school a special place to work. I look forward to seeing all of the students and to another great successful school year!”

Anna Local Schools

Anna Local Schools students will return to the classroom on Wednesday, Aug. 22. Open house at the schools will be held Monday, Aug. 20. The elementary school open house will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. The open house at the high school and middle school will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

A new program at the middle school, said Superintendent Andy Bixler, is the “Lift-off” reading event.

“All middle school students will ‘lift-off’ daily during second period to enhance their reading skills. Students will refine their vocabulary knowledge, engage in reading comprehension lessons, practice essentials in grammar, and master spelling terms in various subject areas,” said Bixler. “All core teachers, along with administration, have worked together to prepare for this new course and are excited to launch it in the upcoming school-year!”

The district is also launching a district-wide reading initiative for the school year.

“The ‘All Rockets Read’ program will involve all students and staff reading a book centered around the themes of perseverance, grit, and determination,” said Bixler. “The three book titles will be announced at kickoff events in each building the first week of school. Many staff and community members have been involved in planning activities and contests that will take place throughout the year in both the school and the community.

“Reading Buddies, writing contests, Skyping with the author of one of the books, a Kindness Rocks program, and reading-related activities at the local Harvest in the Park program are among the many events planned. Our goal is to foster a love of reading, while deepening our sense of community and teaching students’ perseverance behaviors and mindsets,” he said.

When the students return to school, a swing building will house some of the classrooms during the district’s renovation project.

“The renovation of district facilities is underway,” said Bixler. “A swing building has been constructed for classroom space during the construction. The district took advantage of state money earmarked for temporary classrooms to construct a building that will remain when the renovation is complete.

“The school year will begin with students and staff displaced. The current construction area is in the newest addition in the Middle School/High School and contains the major mechanical room for the building,” he said.

“Students will be kept separate from the construction throughout the process. We plan to begin the year with sixth- and seventh-grades in the swing building. They are scheduled to be there for the entire year. Students in grades 8 through 12 will hold classes in the older parts of the building, much of which we identify as the Middle School. There should be two phase changes during the course of this school year,” he said.

“The Middle School/High School Office will remain in the current location. While a new entryway is a part of the renovation, the south entry doors are still the Visitor’s Entrance for this school year,” said Bixler. “Renovations at the Elementary School are scheduled for next summer.”

Russia Local Schools

Students attending Russia Local Schools will return to the classroom on Tuesday, Aug. 21. An open house for kindergarten through sixth-grade students will be held Aug. 16 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Marcus Bixler is joining the staff as the new K-12 principal. He was previously the middle schoolprincipal for four years at ArcanumLocal Schools.

Liz Meyer is the new administrative assistant to the principal. Lynn Blakeley is a part-time elementary music teacher and part-time Title I teacher. Alysha Orsborne is moving from a one—to-one aide to be the district’s new librarian.

Lauren Schulze is joining the staff as the new one-to-one aide. Janel Slonkosky is the new dean of students. Slonkosky is currently the fifth- and sixth-grade math teacher and will add the dean of students responsibilities outside the traditional classroom times.

“I am very excited to be a part of Russia Local School and look forward to the 2018-19 school year,” said Bixler in the school’s newsletter.

“We continue to offer more college credit plus classes at Russia and students can now have 61 credit hours available for them to take here at Russia!” said Superintendent Steve Rose.

Marcus Bixler Russia principal
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2018/08/web1_BixlerMarcusnew.jpgMarcus Bixler Russia principal

Stacey Stetler New Knoxville third-grade teacher
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2018/08/web1_StaceyStetler1-copy.jpgStacey Stetler New Knoxville third-grade teacher

Mayleigh Lane, left to right, 7, of Jackson Center, daughter of Wanda and Perry Lane, talks with Jackson Center Elementary Principal Ginger Heuker, of Botkins, after arriving at the front entrance of Jackson Center Local Schools for the first day of school Tuesday, Aug. 14. Looking on is pre K teacher Brooke Luthman, of Anna.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2018/08/web1_SDN081518FirstDay.jpgMayleigh Lane, left to right, 7, of Jackson Center, daughter of Wanda and Perry Lane, talks with Jackson Center Elementary Principal Ginger Heuker, of Botkins, after arriving at the front entrance of Jackson Center Local Schools for the first day of school Tuesday, Aug. 14. Looking on is pre K teacher Brooke Luthman, of Anna. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News
More students ready to return to class