WATERLOO — After a two-year absence from the DeKalb Central school district, Jane Bitting is returning as the new principal of Country Meadow Elementary School.
The school board approved Bitting’s appointment during a special meeting Thursday morning.
The board approved a 215-day contract in the amount of $80,460 and an administrative benefits package of $22,500.
Bitting will take over for Michelle Molargik, who has accepted an offer from Franklin Covey to become a “Leader in Me” coach and consultant.
Teders said with the sudden resignation of Molargik, the district’s focus quickly turned to finding the next leader for Country Meadow.
“Fortunately, the district was recently involved in elementary principal interviews for McKenney-Harrison Elementary. Applications were screened and initial interviews took place narrowing the applicants down to two highly qualified applicants,” Teders said in a memorandum to the board.
In recommending Bitting for the position at Country Meadow, Teders noted Bitting is no stranger to DeKalb Central schools and was considered highly effective in her roles and responsibilities.
Teders said Bitting first came to DeKalb in 2015 as a language arts teacher at DeKalb New Tech. Her second year was spent as the director of student services at DeKalb Middle School. For the next two years, she stayed at the middle school and was promoted to associate principal and district director of safety. She left DeKalb Central two years ago to pursue a position on the faculty at Huntington University, where she prepared future educators and also began the pursuit of her PhD, Teders said.
“I’m excited to welcome Mrs. Bitting back to DeKalb Central schools and continue her growth as an educational leader,” Teders said.
“She was a valued member of the leadership team and I’m looking forward to her growth as the next principal of Country Meadow Elementary.”
“I am beyond excited to make the return to DeKalb Central Schools. I have absolutely enjoyed my work at Huntington University, but when the opportunity presented itself to return to DeKalb I could not pass it up,” Bitting said.
“I truly feel that DeKalb Central Schools and specifically Country Meadow Elementary are where I am meant to be. Country Meadow has worked hard with the Covey Leader in Me program, and I want to continue that amazing work because I believe in the concepts of the program.
“Country Meadow Elementary School is a unique and special place because of the people. All of the interactions I have had thus far with families, teachers, and staff have been so warm and welcoming. I cannot wait to meet the students and families and get the school year started.”
In her letter of resignation, Molargik praised her colleagues from whom she has had the opportunity to learn and grow.
Molargik said working with and further developing the Leader in Me initiative at Country Meadow provided her with many opportunities to “feed the ‘learner’ within myself.”
In her letter, Molargik said, “My personal mission has always been to support, encourage and enhance students, staff and stakeholders in meaningful opportunities which will promote academic excellence, personal growth and citizenship in life. When I left the classroom to become an administrator, I was excited that I would be able to live this mission beyond my classroom walls. As I enter this next phase, I will be able to continue to live my mission by working with many schools and their staff.”
In other personnel matters Thursday, the board accepted the resignations of middle school paraprofessional Heidi Rice and middle school composition teacher Amy Norton.
The board approved the appointments of McKenney-Harrison dean of students Carrie Bennett and J.R. Watson Elementary School dean of students Kathryn Henry for 185 days, effective Aug. 5. The board also voted to hire Terry Exford as high school girls soccer coach for the 2021-22 season; Morgan Franks as a secretary at DeKalb High School; and Sallie Pease as a media paraprofessional at County Meadow.
The board approved a separation of employment with middle school paraprofessional and soccer coach Landon Cochran. Cochran was arrested in June on a charge of child seduction involving a female student. At that time, the district released a statement saying Cochran had been terminated.