Valley weighs on mask mandate; hires Sterk as Akron principal

Scott Sterk. (Photo Provided)

Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation Superintendent Blaine Conley recommended to the School Board Monday that masks be optional for students, staff and visitors at the school corporation during the 2021-22 school year.

The recommendation is part of the school corporation’s reopening plan and people wearing masks was one of the biggest questions TVSC received about the plan, Conley said.

The recommendation could change if the guidance from the state or local health department changes, but the recommendation is where TVSC is at today, Conley said. When TVSC gets closer to the 2021-22 school year, the school corporation will re-evaluate the situation.

The reopening plan will be posted on the TVSC website under the COVID-19 Info tab today, Conley said.

He said the Board didn’t have to vote on the recommendation.

In other business, several people were introduced to the Board during the meeting.

Scott Sterk introduced himself. He was approved as the new principal at Akron Elementary School.

He just finished his 17th year teaching at Warsaw Community Schools. After the meeting, Sterk said he taught sixth grade at Lincoln Elementary School.

While living in the Akron/Silver Lake area, he received his undergraduate degree from IU-Kokomo and his  master’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University.

Sterk said he got into the education field because he had a teacher in high school who he connected with real well and he reset the course of Sterk’s life a little bit. If his teacher could do that for him, Sterk said he’d like to do that for someone else.

When asked why he decided to come to TVSC, he said there are a lot of great things going on and there are a lot of great experiences his kids have had in the school corporation.

He said he hopes to be a servant leader to serve the students and the families and move the mission of the school corporation forward.

During the meeting, Sterk said the position was a lot of responsibility and a great opportunity.

Mentone Elementary School Principal Randy Dahms introduced Amelia Serafino, who was approved to be a physical education teacher at Mentone Elementary.

He said she would do a “really nice job here at Mentone.”

Serafino said she’s from Elkhart and went to Elkhart Christian Academy and Grace College.

Inga Omondi, TVSC curriculum director, introduced Precious Francis. She was approved to make the change from being a seventh-grade teacher at Tippecanoe Valley Middle School to being a digital integration specialist/virtual academy teacher for the school corporation.

Omondi said Francis has great rapport with her colleagues and administrators. She said Francis helped people understand new initiatives that are happening at the school corporation. Omondi said Francis would make a good addition in her new position.

Francis said last year was her third year teaching with TVSC. She is originally from Toledo, Ohio, and went to Grace College.