VJHS principal accepts superintendent position

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By Dave Bell

In an hour-long meeting – half of which was occupied by a closed-session meeting on personnel matters – the Vandalia Board of Education approved the hiring of two high school staffers and accepted the resignations of three others.

Among the resignations was Vandalia Junior High School principal Rod Grimsley, who has accepted the position of superintendent at Gifford Grade School in northeast Champaign County. In that position, he will serve as both principal and superintendent of the 200-student, K-8 school.
Grimsley, 46, who completed his superintendent’s endorsement to his administrative certification in 2009, said he was attracted to the Gifford position because it combined the day-to-day functions of a principal with the overall administrative responsibilities of a superintendent.
“I’m looking forward to the challenges of a new job,” said Grimsley, a Mason City native who has been principal at VJHS for seven years. “This will be a smaller school district, but it will be a great way to get experience as a superintendent. They are in good shape financially and academically.”
He and his family (wife, Kristi, and sons Garrett, 13, and Payton, 9) will be relocating to St. Joseph. His duties in Gifford begin July 1.
“I really appreciate the staff at the junior high,” Grimsley said. “They’ve done everything I’ve asked them to do to serve the students of Vandalia. “The administration and school board have been super, too.”
Among the high points of his years in Vandalia, Grimsley cited improvements in technology available to students and teachers. He also noted that students’ test scores have improved steadily. And finally, he praised the VCHS staff. “They’ve really bought in with the things we’ve been trying to do. We’ve had a lot of leadership from our veteran teachers.”
Superintendent Rich Well praised Grimsley for the improvements he’s made at the school. “He’s been involved in a lot of important things here – curriculum changes, textbook upgrades, creating a school improvement plan and he was part of the team that worked to pass the tax referendum.
“We’re sad to see him go, but happy for his opportunity. He’s prepared himself for the job. It’s a good opportunity for him and his family.”
In other action, the board also accepted resignations from Eric Sinclair, VCHS language arts teacher, and Ashley Gibbs, VCHS math teacher.
The hiring of two new employees also was approved by the board: Mark Rinehart as a VCHS physical education and driver education teacher, and Brenna Correll as a VCHS language arts teacher.
In his report to the board, Well said that the district’s finances remain in “very solid shape,” even though the state has made only one of four categorical payments during the fiscal year, which began July 1.
“We’re in good shape on our budget, because it reflects not what the state owes us, but what we thought they’d pay us. With the things we can control, we’re doing a good job.”
In the operating accounts (those which the district can control the way they’re spent), the district has received 89 percent of its annual revenues and has spend 79 percent of its annual budgeted expenditures.
The district’s operating balance is $4,940,973, with two months to go in the fiscal year.
Upcoming events in the district include graduation this Saturday at 7 p.m., an awards day at the junior high on Tuesday, May 31 (at 8:30 a.m. for fifth and sixth graders, and at about 9:30 a.m. for seventh and eighth graders), and freshman orientation next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the high school gymnasium.
And finally, coaching assignments were announced for the upcoming school year. They are:
Football: Head coach, John Stout; assistant coaches, Jason Clay and Brian Buscher.
Tennis: Kevin Schroeder.
Soccer: Walt Kinney.
Golf: Brandon Taylor.
Volleyball (VCHS): Head coach, Allison Brown; assistant coach, Jane Bell.
Girls Basketball (VJHS): Todd Marquardt and Dana Kirk.
Boys Basketball (VCHS): Head coach, Kevin Jackson; assistant coaches, Nick Niemerg and Brian Buscher.
Girls Basketball (VCHS): Head coach, Michelle McNary; assistant coach, Amber Daulbaugh.
Wrestling (VCHS): Head coach, Jason Clay; assistant coach, Matt Shroyer.
Sixth-Grade Boys Basketball: Mark Johnson.
Fifth/Sixth-Grade Girls Basketball: Todd Marquardt.
Seventh-Grade Boys Basketball: TBA.
Eighth-Grade Boys Basketball: Joe Schaal.
Seventh-Grade Girls Volleyball: Jane Bell.
Eighth-Grade Girls Volleyball: Geri Reuss.
Cheerleading (VJHS): Tracy Alstat.
Cheerleading (VCHS football and basketball): TBA.
Boys Track (VCHS): Jane Bell.
Girls Track (VCHS): TBA.
Baseball (VCHS): Head coach, Luke Hohlt; assistant coach, TBA.
Softball (VCHS): Head coach, Brian Buscher; assistant coaches, John Stout (half-time) and Jeremy Curll (half-time).
Track (VJHS): Kevin Schroeder and Ann Stock.