Before and after-school programs for pre-K to sixth grade also approved for 2017-18

    The Crookston School Board at a special meeting Thursday officially filled some key teaching positions that were previously announced but not actually approved via resolution.

    The board hired Matt Torgerson as band instructor to replace Chris Gough, who resigned to accept a position in Lakeville. Gough has stayed on through summer band instruction and marching band practice, and board member Adrianne Winger said Torgerson and Gough have been working together as the marching band prepares for the Ox Cart Days Torchlight Parade.

    Torgerson’s spouse works at the University of Minnesota Crookston. He attended the University of Minnesota Morris and the University of North Dakota. He has a bachelors degree in music and a masters degree in curriculum and instruction.

    Twenty applicants sought the position, and four were interviewed.

    The board also officially hired Katelyn Stegman as an English teacher at CHS to replace Kristi Hager, who resigned to further her education. Stegman is a CHS alum and is the daughter of longtime art teacher Gary Stegman. She has a bachelors degree in English education from North Dakota State University.

    Two people applied for the position, and both were interviewed.

    The board hired current CHS special education teacher Andrea Adrian as a math teacher at the high school to replace Chelsey Grassel, who resigned to take a position in East Grand Forks, where she’s from. Adrian has a bachelors degree in education from Minnesota State University-Moorhead, and has a math declaration. She was the only applicant for the position.

    The board also hired Sandra Sorenson as a full-time Title I instructor at Washington and Highland, replacing Lenore Pietruszewski, who resigned. Sorenson was a late addition to the agenda, so there is no information on her in the school board packet.

    The board also approved the hiring of two “community experts” who were hired last year on state variances because they have expertise in their given field but lack the actual educational credentials. State law requires that such community experts be laid off each spring and their positions be re-advertised. The board rehired Maria Argueta as an English Language Learner instructor, and Travis Oliver to teach Industrial Technology/Construction Trades.

    The board also approved before and after-school programming, free of charge, for the 2017-18 school year for pre-kindergarten children up to sixth grade, at Washington and Highland schools.

    The programs were launched during the 2016-17 school year to ease the burden on families with crazy schedules who would like to be able to drop their kids off at school earlier, or have them stay after school for various academic and enrichment activities. The hope is to grow them this school year.

    “I think a couple families are looking at changing schools and coming here because of this program,” Board Chair Frank Fee said. “It could be valuable in retaining students and families, and getting people to attend school here.”

    Highland Principal Chris Trostad, noting that Washington Principal Denice Oliver is the person most responsible for the expanded programs, said he and Oliver are also hearing that some families are especially pleased that the programs are being offered.