District honors employees of the semester
The Hastings School Board recognized six District 200 employees at its April meeting. The Employees of the Semester for semester two of the 2017-2018 school year were honored with a plaque and gift card.
The employees include Joe Beattie, biology teacher at Hastings High School; Kim Frey, director of business in the District Office; Davis Gooch, counselor at HHS; Kris Husaby, assistant principal at HHS; Greg Sandkamp, human performance teacher at HHS; and Tammie Sieben, lead cook at JFK Elementary.
As each employee was honored, Superintendent Tim Collins read the statements of the employee nomination. The statements read as follows.
Joe Beattie is in his 24th year teaching biology at Hastings High School when he isn't wearing waders and walking through the muck of a local river or stream looking for bugs, or frogs or whatever else he can find. Joe is an incredibly hard worker. As a teacher, he is constantly looking for better ways to help his students understand difficult subject matter. He spends countless hours scouring information about his subject matter to find current articles and issues related to his curriculum and then integrates it into the classroom. He spends countless hours planning for his field biology class and attends meetings to make contacts with local authorities on the river. He is a tireless advocate for the environment and a cleaner Vermillion and Mississippi River. He is not only a great teacher but a great example to his students of how we must continue to learn about and be caretakers of our environment.
Kim Frey has been the director of business for the past 15 years. During her time as the director, we have gone from statutory operating debt to fiscal solvency. This happened in no small part thanks to Kim Frey's fiscal aptitude. Kim's job is immense, but she performs it with the utmost professionalism. Her ability to foresee the future and budget accordingly is nothing short of miraculous, yet Kim isn't one of those people who are widely known or recognized around the district. On any day you can find Kim in her office, nose to the grindstone. Her work ethic is beyond compare. I do not know anyone who works harder in the district than Kim. She never leaves for a weekend without an armful of binders in her bag. When you pop in to ask a question, no matter what she is doing she will stop to find the answer. Her ability to research the best way for the district to approach a financial problem is why the district's finances have continued to improve over her tenure in Hastings. She was the first person to see that moving to self-funded insurance for the district was an option that we should explore as a way to hold down the cost of health insurance for our employees. Kim is always fair and has a keen sense of right and wrong, she strives to be the best because she knows her best means the best for the district.
Davis has only been a counselor at Hastings High School for a few years, yet in a short time he has made a big impact on the students he serves. Davis consistently goes above and beyond for students, particularly our English learners. He gives them a great deal of individual attention in terms of registration, college preparation, and caring for their mental well-being. Davis is a huge reason why our EL graduation rate is so high. His attention to these students and his willingness to help them gives them the confidence they sometimes need to achieve great results. Davis is a huge safety net for these students, he approaches them with the utmost concern he is truly dedicated to crossing the T's and dotting the I's, nothing gets by him!
Kris cares about all students, especially those who are at-risk. In her work as an assistant principal, Kris takes the time to use every student interaction to get to know students better and the challenges they may face in life. Kris is super positive and helps students see that they do have hope and choices. She has quietly walked alongside teen moms, connecting them with local and county resources, as well as serving as a mentor for them. Even after the students graduate Kris will continue the relationship with them, to continue to guide and be a resource for them. Students know that each and every day Mrs. Husaby will see the good in them, that she will take the time to listen and she will always be a positive encourager.
To say Mr. Sandkamp has been around for a while is an understatement. Greg has been teaching for Hastings Public Schools for 33 years. Mr. Sandkamp is someone who teaches for all the right reasons. He seeks out opportunities to connect with students and have positive interactions with them whether it is on a field at JFK Elementary or in the gym at the High School, His smile, positive attitude, and caring nature are contagious.
Since becoming lead cook in the Kennedy kitchen in 2016, she has empowered the rest of the cooks to think on their feet and make decisions on their own. She is extremely flexible and has a calm demeanor-- both excellent traits of a leader in a fast-paced and many times an unpredictable job. She is very "go with the flow" and is always willing to "just make it work." She welcomes changes that come and is always willing to try something new even though it might take some time to get used to the change. Tammie is always available to offer her opinion as well as share the ups and downs that happen in her kitchen so that others can learn.