The Hastings Public School Board of Education approved the creation of a preschool coordinator, held a spotlight on learning for preschool and approved policy changes among other business during its June regular session meeting last night. The board also celebrated the career of soon-to-be-retired Craig Kautz for his last board meeting.

All the board members were present at the meeting, held in the City Council Chambers, 220 N. Hastings Ave.

The school board approved a preschool coordinator position, created to assist the Director of Learning. Chad Dumas, who holds the current Director of Learning position, will be resigning. Lawrence Tunks, current Director of Learning and Support, will become Director of Learning. The Director of Learning and Support position will be left unfilled.

“To help the Director of Learning be successful, we need some kind of coordinator position,” Kautz said.

The position will add 20 days to the coordinator’s contract. Jeff Schneider, Director of Business and Finance, estimates the cost will be between $5,000-$6,000. Kautz said that the role will be similar to a previous, unofficial role that was in place a few years ago.

Donna Moss, Director of Student Services, will also be leaving and Candace Garwood will take her place as that director.

All the directors will transition between June 30 and July 1.

In other business, the board held a spotlight on learning for HPS preschools. Alcott’s preschool teachers Pamela Davis and Melissa Blake presented their goals for teaching preschoolers social-emotional skills.

The teachers gave examples of techniques they used, including optional weighted vests and using visual cues to give instructions.

The school board also approved the first reading of several policy changes. The policy changes are mostly related to legislative actions and change language such as referring to e-cigarrette devices as “electronic nicotine delivery systems.”

The board also celebrated Kautz’s last board meeting before retiring June 30 after 13 years as superintendent; Kautz estimates he has been to over 900 board meetings.

During the meeting, every board member shared their Kautz’s career.

“We can all agree we have great staff, but tonight the spotlight is on you,” said John Bonham, board vice president, referring to Kautz.

Additionally, Jim Heyen, Jessica Meeske and Jackie Maynard, all former board presidents, spoke to their experience working with Kautz.

Chad Dumas also received a standing ovation for his last board meeting.

Schneider will become HPS superintendent July 1.

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