CORUNNA — Corunna Public Schools made several personnel changes at its school board meeting Monday in addition to addressing the hot-button topic of bathroom use by students.
The most significant personnel moves were the transfer of athletic director Jason Beldyga and the hiring of new high school principal Ron Jacobs.
Beldyga will be heading from the high school to Elsa Meyer Elementary, where he will set up shop as an assistant principal. His move is a part of a broader effort to beef up the district’s administrative corps, which Superintendent John Fattal said has been under extreme stress since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Administrators “basically have been trying to manage one crisis after another,” Fattal said, making it difficult for them to be the “educational leaders” the district wants them to be. It is hoped that additional principals at the lower levels will ease the crisis-management burden of the existing prelates, allowing them the luxury to plot out “significant advances educationally and behaviorally,” per a briefing paper Fattal wrote on the subject.
Fattal feels that these staffing efforts have already borne promising fruit, offering as evidence the performance of Corunna Middle School Assistant Principal Steve Herrick, who was hired last fall.
Board Treasurer Mark Buckley lent vocal support to the move, saying, “Jason’s done an outstanding job as athletic director. I expect he’ll do a similarly outstanding job” at Elsa Meyer.
The vote to approve Beldyga’s switch was 5-0, with Trustee Joseph Petersen absent and Vice President Sara Beldyga — his wife — abstaining.
A posting for the athletic director position was expected to be made Tuesday. Beldyga will continue shouldering athletic director duties until a suitable replacement can be found.
Jacobs, a 1992 CHS grad, received the warm approbation of the board as they approved his hiring and homecoming. Fattal credited Jacobs — who has spent the past three years as principal at Davison High — as having “stellar credentials as an administrator.”
Buckley went even further.
“I had the good fortune of being in the interview and, quite frankly, not only did I find Ron’s comments insightful, but inspiring, so as a parent and a board member, I’m super excited about having what I think is going to be an exceptionally strong leadership team throughout the district,” Buckley said.
Jacobs took a moment to address the board after its vote.
“People throw around the ‘dream job,’ but this is a dream job for me,” he said. “I can’t wait to create more opportunities for our students. I’ve dedicated my life, just like many educators have, to students and making sure they have the best opportunities in their lives … and I’ll work my tail off to make sure that it happens in Corunna.”
Two Cavaliers were also recognized Monday — Corunna Middle School teacher Lesley Brieger and recently-graduated senior Ellie Toney.
Brieger was named the district’s employee of the month for June. CMS Principal Ingrid Dettman lauded the 18-year vet as being “very dedicated” and taking “great pride in her work.”
“She greets her students with a smile every day and is patient as she helps them grow and learn,” Dettman told the crowd.
Dettman also quoted Brieger’s colleague, Taryn Luft, who described Brieger as “the beacon of patience and kindness inside and out of her classroom.”
In accepting, Brieger marveled at the length of her tenure, wondering where the years had gone.
“I can’t believe that it’s been as long as it’s been. Eighteen years. Twenty years if you count my student teaching and long-term sub position,” she said. “When you come to a job that you love to be at, really, time just flies.”
Toney was formally recognized by the board for her selection to the All-State basketball team.
Jason Beldyga called Toney — who also excelled at volleyball and as a thrower on the girls track and field team — a phenomenal student-athlete.
“If we had an athletic handbook that had an example of what we wanted our student-athletes to be like … this would be the young lady whose picture would be in that handbook,” he said.