With two weeks of schooling now complete, things are going well so far in the Vermillion School District, officials say.
Although the numbers won’t be finalized until the end of September, it looks like this year’s enrollment will be up for the district. At Jolley Elementary, students in grades 2 through 5 currently have 406 students enrolled, up from 391 last year.
Jolley manager Sam Jacobs says he is looking forward to a great year. Both Jolley and Austin elementary schools have added an art program, so he’s excited to see this happening. He is also eager to see the new elementary construction project progress behind the college.
“It’s exciting to know that within two years we will have a state-of-the-art facility capable of handling the growth we are experiencing at Vermillion!” he said.
Meanwhile, in middle school, principal Tom O’Boyle says they started the school year with 328 students. He looks forward to improving middle school attendance this year and seeing the new elementary building go up.
This school year, new faces can be found throughout the District. Last week, the Plain Talk featured profiles of some of these new staff members. This week we are sharing more profiles of new staff members in the VOD.
Family: I am divorced and moved to Vermillion this summer. I have an 11 year old daughter who is in sixth grade. I have two children in paradise. My children and I had a serious car accident and my son and daughter did not survive. Thus, my son will always be 2 and a half years old and my daughter will always be 4 and a half years old.
Education/Training: I have my high school diploma and an associate’s degree in medical assisting. I was recently accepted into SHU and will be double majoring in Special Education and Elementary Education. Becoming a teacher has always been one of my dreams.
Previous experience: I was a substitute teacher before COVID, then I was hired as a paraprofessional at Wagner and stayed there for two years.
As for this school year, I am most looking forward to: meeting all the staff and students. While working, I will attend school at SHU for Special Education and Elementary Education.
I would like parents, families and community members to know that I am a very caring person and want to help everyone in times of need. I have a bubbly personality and I like to have fun. I’ve been through a lot over the past few years and I will never give up. I will always have a smile on my face even if I have a bad day. My children are my world and I will do everything I can for them. I’m not averse to trying new things.
Position: English teacher at VHS
Family: My parents and siblings live in Omaha with their families. I have a niece and a nephew who I love and miss very much. In Vermillion, I live with my dog Miley, my roommate Katey and her cat Winnie.
Education/Training: I graduated from USD in 2016 with a BA in English Education. I also earned a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Currently, I am pursuing a Master of Arts in English Literature at USD.
Previous experience: I finished teaching at VHS in 2016, then moved to Omaha, NE where I taught English at Burke High School. Last year I taught ENGL 101 at USD as a teaching assistant for the English department.
As for this school year, I’m most excited: to be back at Vermillion High School where my academic journey began. I love the Vermillion community and look forward to working closely with students and families again!
I would like you to know that parents, families and community members: I also teach at Vermillion Area Dance Organization and currently coach the SHU Dance Team. You might see me at games and different events around town!
Dr. Jan Stalling, CNC, NCSC
Position: Native American Link Title VI
Family: Married to Clayton Stalling, wildlife biologist/naturalist, two married daughters, three grandchildren
Education: BS and MS from Wayne State College Wayne, NE, and Doctor of Education from USD. I held a NE Mental Health Practitioner credential prior to moving to South Dakota and am a National Certified Counselor and National Certified School Counselor. I received trauma-focused counseling in Indian Country through the University of Oklahoma.
Previous Experience: For the past three years, I have taught online graduate counseling courses for Capella University in Minneapolis, MN. The previous ten years I was on the Winnebago Indian Reservation in Winnebago, NE as a licensed mental health therapist for St. Augustine Elementary Indian School in Winnebago and as Director of Education for the Winnebago Tribe . For about 20 years before returning to my home state of Nebraska, I taught graduate courses in counselor training and supervision and ran school counseling programs at universities in Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. While on faculty at the university, I also worked part-time in private practice with adults, couples, families, women, and children.
Looking forward to this school year, I am very excited: about once again working directly with students, parents, teachers and staff and contributing to the educational journeys of students in the Vermillion School District.
I would like parents, families and community members to know: I would like parents, families and community to know that I am here to build relationships, provide school support, organize family/community events and enrichment opportunities for Native American students that will enable our students to learn and maximize their potential.
Todd Earl Stephens
Position: Special education teacher at Vermillion High School
Family: I have two older sisters. One of them works at Vermillion Middle School and is a paraprofessional. And my mother. I have two dogs, Link and Wicket.
Education/Training: Graduated from USD. I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in music. Graduated in Special Education.
Previous Experience: Worked in South Dakota Township for 3 years and Elk Point Jefferson for 1 year.
As for this school year, I am very excited to: See all the students and get to know them.
I would like parents, families and community members to know that I am a kind and caring person who accepts everyone. I am delighted to get to know the students.
Family: I am married and have a son.
Education/Education: Associate’s Degree in Police Science from Western Iowa Tech.
Previous Experience: I worked at Riverside Elementary in Sioux City, Iowa, in an accelerated class for nearly three years before coming to Vermillion.
As for this school year, I’m most excited: to meet the new students and staff of this wonderful city.
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