The 2013-14 school year is underway, and the the School District of Mauston introduced 13 staff members who are new to the district this year.
At Grayside Elementary, kids will notice three new faces around school. In the library, Chris Smolek has taken over the position of library media assistant. Smolek, who is from Mauston, has spent over 10 years working in libraries. In her spare time, she likes to bake, do water exercise and is into crafts.
The special education department welcomed two new aids this fall. Trace Jones, who hails from Merrimac, Wis., has been working in education for 15 years, previously with the Sun Prairie school district. In her spare time, Jones likes boating, specifically on pontoons.
“I’m excited about speech and the technical end of it,” Jones said.
Amy Babcock is originally from Mauston and has been working as a substitute teacher for Mauston for five years. This year she will become a full-time aid. Babcock owns a dairy farm with her husband and spends a lot of time helping with the farm, as well as spending time with her kids. Babcock said she is excited to work with the kids and for the school year to start.
Across the parking lot at Gordon Olson Middle School, students will meet four new faces, including Principal Mike Gonzalez. Gonzalez, who was born and raised in Miami, Fla., previously taught social studies at La Follette High School in Madison before serving as assistant principal at Fond du Lac High School from 2007-2013. The upcoming school year will be his 13th year as an educator. When he is not in school, Gonzalez enjoys photography, reading, sporting events and hanging out with family and friends.
“I am very excited to start off the 2013-2014 school year at Gordon Olson Middle School. …I cannot wait to build relationships and establish partnerships within the community of Mauston to make Olson Middle School and even better place for students to succeed,” Gonzalez said.
Olson Middle school also added three new teachers to their team this year. Kendal Koepp will handle seventh-grade science for her first year as an educator. She is from Menomonie Falls and enjoys being outside, particularly hiking, fishing and running.
“I’m very excited and ready to meet the students. …Everyone here has been very welcoming,” Koepp said.
In the special education department, Ryan Morris will begin his first year as an educator teaching special ed. Originally from Janesville, Morris enjoys taekwondo and learning world languages. He speaks Spanish and plans on learning German or Italian next. Morris said he is very excited to meet the students and begin the year.
Finally, in the art department, kids will have a new instructor to help fuel their creativity. Matt Johnson, who will be teaching art, is also beginning his first year as an educator with the Mauston school district. Johnson enjoys camping and aikido – a Japanese form of martial art. Johnson said he is looking forward to a fantastic school year.
Mauston High School brought five new faces to the hallways for the upcoming school year. On the technology side of things, Mary Fitzwater has taken over the media information sciences for the entire district. Fitzwater has spent over 20 years working in education and said she enjoys kayaking, hiking, playing guitar and being outdoors.
“I’m so excited to be here and work with the wonderful staff to creating a cutting edge library media program at all levels,” Fitzwater said.
Kevin Hahn will teach physics and math and has been an educator for nine years. He previously taught in Marinette and enjoys running and doing things with his family. Hahn said he is very excited to begin a new school year in Mauston.
In the history department, Nick Kaschub, who hails from Oregon, Wis., will be teaching American history. Kaschub likes sports and being outdoors and said he is excited to be a part of the Mauston school district.
Joanne Casey, the newest addition to Mauston High School’s special education department, will be co-teaching. Casey has spent many years living in Mauston and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
“I am excited to be [at MHS]. …It seems like a positive place,” Casey said.
Mauston High School will bring back one of their own this year, in student teacher Holly Howell. Howell, a senior at Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Watertown, is a graduate of Mauston High School and will be student-teaching social studies. Howell, who enjoys spending time with friends and family, will graduate this year.
“I’m excited to be back,” Howell said.
Lyndon Station Elementary School, which is a part of the Mauston school district, also added two new educators to their team this year.
Katie Malczewski will be teaching fourth grade. Originally from Oshkosh, the upcoming school year will be Malczewski’s first as a teacher. She enjoys being outside, especially camping, hiking and fishing.
“I’m very excited, I like the small school, it has a community feel,” Malczewski said.
Lastly, Michele Yates-Wickus has taken over as Lyndon Station Elementary School’s principal. She also serves as the director of special education. Yates-Wickus comes to the Mauston school district from CESA 5 and is originally from Utah. An educator for 19 years, Yates-Wickus likes practicing yoga and traveling.
“I’m excited to be in the new role and I am looking forward to building relationships with the community, teachers and students,” she said.