Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Public questions disciplinary actions
Three Coldwater school employees placed on administrative leaves
By Eric Adams
Alanna Kuether and Krista Bruns, both juniors at Coldwater High School, air thei. . .
COLDWATER - More than 50 parents, students and school employees attended the school board meeting Tuesday night as a demonstration of support for three high school employees who recently were placed on administrative leave.
Marge Hoops, Carole Huber and Elaine Schwendeman all received an undisclosed period of leave on March 4 for alleged timecard violations. Additional details of the incidents have not yet surfaced.
Hoops, the high school librarian, submitted her resignation, which was accepted by the board after a lengthy executive session Tuesday. She worked for the district for seven years.
Board members did not answer the many questions asked by the public during the meeting with board president Dan Rose saying personnel matters would not be addressed publicly.
"We don't want to air other people's laundry," board member Todd Bills added.
Benjamin Obringer, a 2009 Coldwater graduate who helped organize the demonstration via Facebook, said his understanding is none of the three faculty members received warnings prior to their punishment. He felt the discipline administered was inappropriate.
He spoke specifically of the impact Hoops had on his experience at Coldwater High School.
"Seeing her work is an incredible experience," he said. "She has this amazing ability to bring out the best in every single student, even those who were written off as disciplinary problems."
Coldwater High School junior Krista Bruns, who said she formed a relationship with Hoops after just half a year of enrollment with the district, said the librarian was immensely welcoming to her as a new student and supportive during a recent back surgery.
"She was the last one to tell me good luck before my surgery and the first to welcome me back," Bruns said.
Many alumni remarked they would not be where they are today if not for the librarian.
Crystal Boyer, a 2011 Coldwater graduate and sophomore in college, said she had not intended to pursue higher education until Hoops convinced her it was possible.
"She was not just a librarian, she was 'momma Hoops,' " Boyer said. "I was a very slow learner ... but Mrs. Hoops always said I could do it."
Huber and Schwendeman are both secretaries. Huber has been employed with the district for 30 years, Schwendeman for 12 years.
Superintendent Rich Seas would not answer any questions related to the incidents.
Also addressed at the meeting was the recent TEAMS or Test of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science competition that Coldwater students under the instruction of Chuck Alig attended at Ohio Northern University.
High School principal Charles Tackett reported the Coldwater team placed seventh among 23 teams and answered more questions correctly (67 of 80) than they had in any prior year of participation.
Tackett also commended Mike Siebert, Jack Mescher and 10 Coldwater FFA members who shoveled driveways throughout the village during the most recent snowstorm.
Board members also,
• hired Jason Horstman as junior high track coach for the 2013 season.
• hired Koby Frye, long-term substitute teacher, effective March 19.
• accepted the resignation of Jane Schwieterman, speech-language pathologist.
• accepted the resignation of Jolene Burke, elementary teacher.