Johnstown Independent

Northridge gains new staff, roof, land

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Northridge Local Schools students will find see new teachers when they return to class Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Superintendent Chris Briggs said the new teachers joining the district are mostly replacements.

New high school staff members include science teacher Emily Thomas, replacing Tod Jervey; science teacher Jessica Wright, replacing Bob Russell; social studies teacher Mike King, replacing Paul Bennett; and guidance counselor Korie Jesse, replacing Laura Brockway.

New to Northridge Middle School will be eighth-grade science teacher Peter Williamson. New teachers at Northridge Primary School are Alyssa Peterson, second grade; Amanda Mucci, third grade; and Richard Featheringill, who will teach art in K-5.

Briggs said intervention specialist Kali Starkey is joining the district in a new position for a student who's returning to Northridge.

He said some reorganization with principals also has occurred. Cory Caughlan has been hired as an associate principal for grades 4-8 at Northridge Intermediate School and Northridge Middle School.

Replacing Wayne Howard as high school athletics director is John Morgan, who's also high school associate principal.

Briggs said Northridge is holding steady with enrollment. Although the district still was enrolling kindergartners last week, he estimates an enrollment of nearly 1,300 students at the start of the school year.

District treasurer Britt Lewis said a new roof on the middle school should be completed by the end of summer. The project also includes renovation of the roof over the high school gym and auditorium, at a total cost of $1,076,000 from the general fund.

"We saved $785,000 from the original bids by selecting an alternative roof replacement for the middle school," Lewis said. "We will end up with a better roof replacement by using a buildup roof process."

He said the district also purchased 10 acres from the Tuggle family in late June. The property cost $135,000 and is next to the high school campus.

"There are two phases of that project," Lewis said. "It will include our new bus-garage project for parking. There are two barns with it. So part of it is for parking and the bus garage. The remainder will be for the Vo-Ag (vocational agriculture education program)."

In addition to using general-fund money, Lewis said, Petermann Transportation is helping to pay into the project.

"It's part of an agreement with our contract," he said. "We'll own all the property. They're helping pay into it. It will be a brand-new facility. It will be very nice when it's done."

Lewis said the new bus garage is being designed, with site work to begin in October. He said minor internal projects also have been done, including new floors and lockers in the high school boys locker room and renovated bathroom floors in the high school.

The campus parking lot will be patched and resealed, too, according to Lewis.

Briggs said he would focus on three interests during the coming year.

"Finance is always a focus, (along with) facilities and improving student achievement," he said. "As we begin planning with the board and administrators, those are our Viking pillars."

Briggs said an Aug. 16 school board retreat would be focused on the pillars.

"My goal is to come out with a plan for our district, using our Viking values," he said. "Now I want to build on the vision, mission and Viking values developed last year."

The Northridge vision is to ensure every student reaches full potential. The mission is to empower all students with the knowledge and skills necessary to be college- and career-ready.

Viking values include trust, communication, leadership, collaboration, respect, integrity and accountability.

"We will take it to the next step," Briggs said. "We'll have a plan and show a goal moving forward. We'll provide our plan for the future."

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