Maumee School District Welcomes Several New Staff

New staff at Fairfield Elementary includes (from left) Megan Schweinfurth, Alexis Deffenbaugh, Amanda Sieren and Mary Wagener. Not pictured is Hollie Potter. MIRROR PHOTOS BY NANCY GAGNET
New staff at Wayne Trail Elementary includes (from left) Melissa Valadez, Bridgette Pavlis, Morgan Albright and Joshua Garmon. Not pictured is Kristy Ogden.
The new staff at Fort Miami are (from left) Doug Clemens, Annie Valade, Cortney Vallade, Jeffrey Albright, Asia Temple, Emily Aldanondo and Kylie Tiell.
The new staff at Gateway Middle School includes (from left) Brock Burkett, Gina Buzzelli, Madelyn Eye and Ashley “Lee” Johnson.
The new district staff includes (from left) Brock Burkett, Brook Giesige, Cheyenne Knapp and Madisyn Keifer from Maumee High School and Nate Bishop, elementary behavior specialist. Not pictured is Abigayle Sehnert.

BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — With the start of the new school year in full swing, those individuals who are new to the district took part in an orientation day to ensure a smooth transition into the classroom.

The orientation took place on August 12 and included meetings with administrators, building principals, board members and other teachers. Superintendent Dr. Todd Cramer said the experience fosters a positive first step while providing important information for the new school year.

“In talking with our new staff members over the years, we realized the value of providing an orientation day for them to build relationships with each other and key district staff members, as well as learn the responsibilities and expectations for their position,” he said.

This year, the new staff also boarded a school bus to tour the city and meet with city leaders, including Maumee Mayor Richard Carr and the chiefs of both fire and police. 

“We added a school bus tour through the school district this year, so everyone would have an opportunity to get to know our neighborhoods and see all our school facilities,” Cramer said. “When I asked Mayor Carr about adding a stop in uptown for our staff to meet city leaders, it took him less than a second to say yes. The mayor, Fire Chief Loboschefski, Police Chief Sprow and other key members of the law enforcement team that works with our students and staff were all in attendance.”

There are 24 staff members taking on new roles in the district, and a majority of those are filling positions left vacant by retiring employees. Some new positions have been added this year, including two new kindergarten teachers, which were needed due to increased enrollment. Three new assistant school nurses have also been added, which is a change from last year when the nurses were hired as contract employees. Due to continued COVID-19 concerns, those positions have been added to the staff this year. 

Other new positions this year are three elementary behavior agents and a behavior specialist. Tricia Samuel, the director of educational services for Maumee City Schools, said that the new positions are an important part of the district’s positive mental health support for all students.

“We recognize some of our youngest students have not been in a structured school setting prior to starting school in Maumee, while others struggle to cope with school and become frustrated. Adding behavioral supports for these students, in a defined way, supports them in the classroom and aids in their academic success,” Samuel said. 

Maumee City Schools Welcomes New Staff Members For The 2021-22 Year

Meet Maumee City Schools’ new staff members. The following are brief biographies for the newly hired staff for the 2021-22 school year:

Maumee High School

• Brook Giesige, English, grades 9-10. Graduated from: Capital University. Work experience: long-term sub in the Genoa school district. Most looking forward to: “Getting to know students!”

• Madisyn Keifer, family & consumer science. Graduated from: Bowling Green State University. Work experience: Leipsic Local Schools, awarded 2020 Ohio Insurance Teacher of the Year. Most looking forward to: “Teaching real-world skills through hands-on learning, preparing students for college and a career.”

• Cheyenne Knapp, Spanish/German. Graduated from: Adrian College. Work experience: Fulbright Recipient for English Teaching Assistantship in 2017-18. Most looking forward to: “I’m looking forward to introducing my students to new languages and fascinating cultures. I’m hoping to inspire students to go outside of their comfort zone and explore the world someday.”

Maumee High School/Gateway Middle School

• Brock Burkett, choir director, grades 6-12. Graduated from: Bowling Green State University. Work experience: first year teaching. Most looking forward to: “Working with students to create beautiful music together.”

Gateway Middle School

• Gina Buzzelli, orchestra grades 6-8. Graduated from: Ball State University and University of Northern Colorado. Work experience: musical clinician for the Maumee orchestras; freelance violinist in the Northwest Ohio region. Most looking forward to: “Making more music in person this year!”

• Ashley Johnson, intervention agent. Graduated from: UW Madison (master’s) and Virginia Tech (bachelor’s). Work experience: Jewish Federation of Greater Toledo. Most looking forward to: “Excited to start my teaching career, share my love of learning.”

Gateway Middle School/Wayne Trail Elementary

• Madelyn Eye, STEAM teacher, grades 4-8. Graduated from: The University of Toledo. Work experience: first year teaching. Most looking forward to: “I am so excited to share the diverse opportunities that come with STEAM, hopefully exposing students to new experiences in the classroom.”

Wayne Trail Elementary

• Morgan Albright, intervention specialist. Graduated from: Kent State University. Work experience: Southwest Licking Local Schools. Most looking forward to: “The opportunity to work with a new team and meet new people. I am excited to grow and learn in this new position and school. I am also excited to learn more about the community and get involved.”

• Bridgette Pavlis, assistant school nurse. Graduated from: LPN to RN program through Excelsior College. Work experience: 20-year employee at McLaren St. Luke’s. Most looking forward to: “Educating our students on healthy habits and helping children with their illnesses.”

• Joshua Garmon, science & social studies. Graduated from: The University of Toledo. Work experience: student teacher at Wayne Trail. Most looking forward to: “I am looking forward to creating memorable experiences with all students and staff. I am thankful for this opportunity and looking forward to making a positive impact on the community.”

• Melissa Valadez, intervention agent. Graduated from: The University of Toledo. Work experience: substitute teacher in Maumee. Most looking forward to: “Working with students face to face and watching them succeed.”

• Kristy Ogden, classroom assistant. Graduated from: Owens Community College and MHS. Work experience: four-year substitute teacher in the Maumee school district. Most looking forward to: “Creating new relationships with students and staff.”

Wayne Trail Elementary/Fairfield Elementary

• Alexis Deffenbaugh, music teacher, K-5. Graduated from: Bowling Green State University. Most looking forward to: “Creating connections with students and making beautiful music together!”

Wayne Trail Elementary/Fairfield Elementary/Fort Miami Elementary

• Nate Bishop, behavioral supervisor. Graduated from: Western Michigan University and The Ohio State University. Work experience: Lancaster City Schools. Most looking forward to: “Helping kids learn new skills and reach their potential.”

Fairfield Elementary

• Amanda Sieren, behavior agent. Graduated from: Bowling Green State University. Work experience: substitute in Maumee school district. Most looking forward to: “Working with the awesome staff and students.”

• Megan Schweinfurth, kindergarten teacher. Graduated from: Bowling Green State University. Most looking forward to: “Getting to start my career with an awesome school district!”

• Hollie Potter, classroom assistant. Graduated from: The University of Toledo and MHS. Work experience: Maumee Municipal Court. Most looking forward to: “Working with children as opposed to adults.”

• Mary Wagener, assistant school nurse. Graduated from: Owens Community College. Work experience: Lakes of Monclova. Most looking forward to: “Joining the Maumee school community and working with the kids!”

Fort Miami Elementary

• Annie Valade, kindergarten teacher. Graduated from: The University of Toledo. Work experience: intervention agent for two years at Fort Miami Elementary. Most looking forward to: “Rediscovering the joy of learning with the new students!”

• Emily Aldanondo, intervention agent. Graduated from: Central Michigan University. Work experience: working at a daycare. Most looking forward to: “Getting to know and work with students, staff and the Maumee community.”

• Jeffrey Albright, building substitute. Graduated from: The University of Toledo and MHS. Work experience: case manager for Midwest & Ohio Detox Residential. Most looking forward to: “Returning to working in the classroom after a year in a different field.”

• Cortney Vallade, assistant school nurse. Graduated from: Lourdes University. Work experience: hematology and oncology RN at Mercy Perrysburg Cancer Center. Most looking forward to: “I am most excited to work with kids and work with the staff at Maumee City Schools.”

• Doug Clemens, kindergarten teacher. Graduated from: Eastern Michigan University. Work experience: Plymouth Educational Center in Detroit; Winter-field Venture Academy; intervention agent in Maumee for the last three years. Most looking forward to: “Helping my students take their first steps to being lifelong learners.”

• Kylie Tiell, intervention agent. Graduated from: Bowling Green State University. Work experience: substitute teaching. Most looking forward to: “Meeting all of the kiddos and watching them grow throughout the year!”

• Asia Temple, kindergarten teacher. Graduated from: The Ohio State University. Work experience: Ben Franklin Elementary in the Newark City School District. Most looking forward to: “I am looking forward to creating meaningful relationships with students, families and staff!”

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