Change continues at Northeast Dubois


DUBOIS — The Northeast Dubois County School Corporation has seen significant changes in the last few years, and that trend is set to continue.

At the school board meeting Tuesday night, the board discussed two more changes for the corporation: a shake-up to the administrative team and another construction project at Northeast Dubois High School, soon to be Northeast Dubois Junior-Senior High School when the seventh and eighth grades move to the building in August.

Changes in the administration


Northeast Dubois High School Principal Tina Fawks threw a surprise change to her corporation last month when she took a job at Greater Jasper Schools.

As of March 2, Fawks will move to Greater Jasper’s central office as the corporation’s assistant superintendent of curriculum, instruction and assessment. Back at Northeast Dubois, current Celestine and Dubois Elementary Principal Tara Rasche will move to the high school principal’s office on March 2, and former elementary schools principal Brenda Ferguson will return to the corporation to fill Rasche’s place for the rest of the year.

“It’s bittersweet,” Rasche said of the move.

She said she’s loved working at the elementary schools and interacting with the younger kids, but she also enjoys working with high school students. In fact, most of Rasche’s career was at the high school level. Before moving to Northeast Dubois, she taught at Forest Park Junior-Senior High School. Then, when she came to Northeast Dubois, she taught high school English for a decade before taking a job as the school’s librarian. This year was her first year at the elementary schools.

“It’s an honor to go back to the high school as their principal,” Rasche said.

Rasche said she’s ready to tackle the changes coming to the high school next year, as well as the changes the corporation is undergoing as a whole. After all, she’s been one of the administrators at the head of one of the biggest changes: the closure of Celestine Elementary at the end of this school year.

“There’s a lot of transitions and a lot of change,” she said. “But with that comes a lot of opportunity. I’m looking forward to being a small part of it.”

Construction at the high school

One construction project is currently underway at Northeast Dubois High School, but that hasn’t stopped the board and administrators from planning for the next one.

At Tuesday’s meeting, architect George Link with VPS Architecture of Evansville presented the latest drawings for the addition of a second gym and a front entrance renovation to prepare the school to house seventh through 12th grades.

Link began working with the school corporation in 2018 when he led a facilities-use study to determine how the corporation could reconfigure and leverage funds becoming available in the debt service fund — which must be dedicated to new construction and maintenance projects — to eliminate the need for a second education fund referendum when the current one — which passed in 2016 — expires in 2024.

The first bond issue of $4.3 million went to the project currently underway, which includes a new addition for Project Lead the Way programs, renovated science labs and a hall dedicated to seventh and eighth grade. The second bond issue of the same amount will go toward the project Link presented Tuesday: the addition of a second gymnasium and a remodel of the main entrance.

The drawings presented Tuesday were the result of Link’s meetings with high school faculty following a board work session last month. At the work session, the suggestion of building a new high school gym came up, but Link discovered that wouldn’t fit within the project budget. Instead, the new gym will feature a basketball main court with two cross courts and be located on the south side of the school as visitors come up the main entrance.

The project will also move the main entrance down to parking lot level and consolidate the number of doors near the entrance.

“I think this is great, pulling [the office] out to feature more prominently,” board member Bernie Knies said. “But it’s still behind the gym when you drive up to it.”

Link assured Knies that the exact look of the new entrance was still under discussion, but that it would be clear where people should enter the building.

“People will know that’s the new entrance to the school,” Link said.

The plans also include renovations to the concession area, locker rooms and weight room, as well as additional storage, a training room and an officials’ dressing room. Altogether, the project will renovate 6,000 square feet and add 22,000 square feet.

In the coming weeks, Link will continue meeting with faculty and staff about their needs to further refine the project before making another presentation to the board at its March meeting, set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, at the corporation office, 5379 Main St., Dubois.

The board also:

• Approved a monthly transfer of $50,000 from the education fund to the operations fund.

• Approved the following field trips: the Family, Community and Career Leaders of America students to attend the Ed Rising conference and contest in Muncie; the Business Professionals of America students to attend the BPA State Leadership Conference in Indianapolis; and the Beta Club to attend the Beta Leadership Summit in Evansville.

• Approved a conflict of interest statement for board member Shawn Dooley, whose wife, Angie, was hired as an instructional assistant.

• Approved the following new hires: volleyball coach Leigh-Ann Brosmer at the high school; and teaching assistants Angie Dooley and Mara Schroering at Dubois Middle School.

• Approved the resignation of high school principal Tina Fawks, effective Feb. 28.

• Recognized board attorney Art Nordhoff for receiving a Sagamore of the Wabash award.

• Heard an update from Superintendent Bill Hochgesang on a joint effort of the four superintendents in the county to petition county leadership for the purchase of school bus stop arm cameras, as permitted by a state law that went into effect July 1, 2019. The four superintendents met with the county commissioners and were given permission to meet with the county council — which much allocate the funds — at the council’s meeting Monday. Hochgesang said the Dubois County Community Foundation also offered to grant funds to the schools during the next two years to help outfit school buses with the cameras. Hochgesang said the plan is to have every school bus in the county have a camera within five years.

• Heard a project proposal from Leah Weyer’s second grade class at Dubois Elementary to research and paint blacktop games such as hopscotch on the blacktop the students play on during recess when the playground is too wet. The students wrote the board persuasive letters to convince them to approve the project. The board said the students could proceed with their research and data collection and present their findings and ideas at the March meeting.

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