New teachers in both the Crown Point Community School Corporation and Merrillville Community School Corporation were introduced at the Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce’ monthly luncheon on Monday at The Lighthouse Restaurant in Cedar Lake.
“Having good school systems is key to development," said Sue Reed, president and CEO of Crossroads Regional Chamber of Commerce. “We cannot attract business to the area without a good school system.”
The new teachers, most hailing from Northwest Indiana but some coming in from out of the region for their first educating gig, were welcomed with open arms. The consensus among teachers is excitement to work for two of the region’s top school systems.
“The best first impression I had is the willingness of the CPCSC to help teachers grow and train us,” said Nate Shellhaas, the new music instructor at Solon-Robinson Elementary School in Crown Point. “The teacher who I am replacing just retired and brought much love, and I would love to continue that legacy of love.”
Jennifer Magallanes, a new Spanish instructor at Crown Point High School, said she immediately gets the sense of community in Northwest Indiana.
“It feels nice to have a real supportive school system,” she said. “All of the new teachers have the superintendent’s personal cell number. Not only do I feel welcome, but they take education so seriously I feel honored that they saw enough in me to be hired here.”
“It makes me want to work harder to make sure I’m on the same level as all the other great teachers here.”
Dr. Teresa Eineman, superintendent of the Crown Point Community School Corporation, addressed the luncheon said that not only are all the new hires “nice,” they show all three vital traits of a great educator: knowledge, skills and disposition.
“You are all our superstars,” she said. “We picked you from thousands of applicants, we have faith in you and are here to be beside you in our journey. Without teachers, I wouldn’t be where I am today so I decided to dedicate my life to teachers.”
Merrillville Community School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Mark Sperling also had some encouraging words for the 40-plus teachers who were introduced.
“Teaching is not an easy profession,” he said, wishing each teacher a “tremendous school year.”
“We have to make our decisions based on what’s best for the kids we are responsible for. We are a family of teachers, and there is nothing more important than family,” he said.
After 13 years of teaching at Crown Point High School, Noriko Wachowski will enter her first year teaching elementary and special education at Fieler Elementary School.
“I was just hired, haven’t met my students - but already see a lot of support from the administration and community,” she said.
Michael White, education division chairman at Indiana Wesleyan University, led off the luncheon by thanking the several sponsors that purchased tables of teachers to support and told the new educators he “hopes and prays for a blessed school year.”