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October Babies & Kudos


Congratulations to Ashley Heede, kindergarten teacher at Marvin, and husband Jay on the birth of Norah Grace. Their newest addition made her debut on Aug. 19 weighing 6 lbs. 4 oz. and measuring 19 inches long. She has a proud 9-year-old brother, Liam.

Nora Heede      Nora Heede

Mary Mahn, office professional in the business office at the Administrative Center, is celebrating the birth of her grandchild, Matilda Lynn Mahn. Proud parents Ryan (2006 Ritenour graduate) and Erica Mahn celebrated her birth on Aug. 22 at 6 lbs. 10 oz. and was 20 inches long. Big sister Stella (age 6) and big brother Louis (age 4) are crazy about their new sister.

Mahn baby and siblings


David Appelbaum, Ritenour High School (RHS) art teacher, started a bee keeping club for students and staff at RHS. Two hives have been installed on the roof of the auditorium. David was recognized by other staff members for dedicating his own time, materials and expertise for the project.

Mitzy Barnstead, ELL teacher at Iveland Elementary, received a $1,000 Youth Literacy Grant from Dollar General. She is using the funds to purchase books that reflect and represent Iveland’s ELL student cultures. Mitzy plans to use the books to support student language acquisition, content knowledge and to foster an even greater love of reading. 

Mitzy Barnstead book program

Dina Durnin, a counselor at Ritenour High School, created a Donors Choose account to fund a "Counselor's Calming Corner" for RHS students. The project’s total cost was $1,692 and was fully funded in just a few weeks. Furniture and supplies for the room have already started to be delivered. Fellow RHS counselor Cabrina Noonan and her family helped paint the room over a weekend. It is used as a welcoming place for small groups and other restorative practices for high school students.  

Dr. Katie Gipperich, kindergarten teacher at Buder Elementary, was nominated for the LifeChanger of the year Award. The award honors school staff members making a positive difference for students. Please visit this link to leave supportive comments for Katie. The selection committee reads all comments and takes them into consideration when determining each year’s winners. Recipients will be chosen by a national selection committee comprised of past LifeChangers and education professionals. Award winners will be surprised at their schools during in early 2020 and receive cash prizes and donations for their schools.

Sheneé McCoy, a fifth grade teacher at Kratz Elementary, was named one of the Midwest Education Technology Community (METC) 2020 Spotlight Educators. She is one of only 10 local educators selected for the honor. She has been asked to make two presentations at the METC20 Conference next February about helping students become global ambassadors using technology applications and moving students beyond paper and pencil for writing through digital storytelling and podcasting. Learn more.

Shenee McCoy, 2018-19 Ritenour Teacher of the Year

Rhonda Olson, a long-term substitute teacher at Ritenour Middle School (who also subs at several other schools), celebrated the graduation of her daughter, Brianna, from RHS in August.  Brianna is the fourth generation of her family to graduate from Ritenour, joining her great-grandmother Dorothy Thompson (Crigler) [1934]; grandmother Lylas Criger (Chatmon) [1965]; and mother, Rhonda (Chatmon) [1988].  Her great-great grandmother also attended Ritenour, making Brianna the fifth generation of her family to attend Ritenour schools.

Four generations of class rings

John Schimmel, language arts teacher at RHS, is running his first full marathon on Dec. 7 (the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis, Tenn.) to raise money for the LaLimye orphanage in Haiti.  This is an orphanage where he has volunteered with the children and where he started the Power for Haiti initiative to raise money for solar panels that will help generate power to cool the building where the children live. He has $2,170 in pledges so far, but hopes to raise more. Please contact John for more information or to learn more about donating to this cause.

Jennifer Wellman, language arts teacher at Hoech Middle School, is pleased to announce that her niece, Rylee Berry (a freshman at RHS), was nominated for Missouri Ambassadors of Music Program. Rylee has the opportunity to be a part of a 16-day European Tour next summer, traveling and performing concerts in England, France, Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, as well as Liechtenstein and Venice, Italy. Rylee is currently raising money to be able to go on this once in a lifetime journey.

Rylee Berry