Staffing Approved For Valley Early Learning Academy

Pictured (L to R) are Amanda Carnes and Nicole Hines. Photo by Jackie Gorski, Times-Union

MENTONE – The Valley Early Learning Academy is moving full steam ahead, Lori Tilden-Geiger, director of marketing, public relations and grant writing, told the Tippecanoe Valley School Board Monday.

In May, Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation announced it was opening a daycare center for employees’ children for the 2022-23 school year called the Valley Early Learning Academy at Mentone Elementary.

The space has been created and the infant-toddler room has been cleaned at Mentone Elementary. Equipment has been ordered and materials and supplies are coming in.

“And we’re getting ready to create this rich learning environment. We’re super excited,” Tilden-Geiger said.

Two of the positions for the academy have been filled, with the Board approving the hirings Monday. Nicole Hines will be the coordinator and Jody Moss will be the lead instructor.

Hines said her husband is Justin and she has three children. They come from Royal Center.

Hines has her associate’s degree in early childhood education and will be graduating in December with her bachelor’s degree in early childhood education. She has over 15 years working with children from birth to age 5. She was excited to help start building the program from the ground up.

The Board also was asked to approve other hirings, including Amanda Carnes as a fifth-grade teacher for Akron Elementary.

Carnes said she was a TVSC graduate and has her bachelor’s degree in elementary education.

Akron Elementary School Principal Scott Sterk said she’s no stranger to the school corporation and has worked in some temporary capacities and was familiar with workshop models and things the school is passionate about.

Carnes said she worked at Mentone Elementary last year. Her husband is Darren and they have two children.

In other business, the Board approved:

• The facility use contracts for Beaver Dam Preschool and Jack & Jill Preschool.

• The real estate agreement with Kosciusko County Head Start/Cardinal Services.

• Updates to the teacher appreciation grant, school board authority, personnel mileage reimbursement and travel policies.