Rebekah Helget Named New Special Education Director for the Learning Cooperative of North Central Kansas

By Toby Nosker
KNCK News Director

The USD 333 Concordia Board of Education met for 3 1/2 hours Monday, March 12th, including five executive sessions totaling 110 minutes in length.

The board first met in two executive sessions equaling 35-minutes in length for attorney/client privilege with USD 333 Concordia Superintendent Quentin Breese and Donna Whiteman, the Kansas Association of School Boards Assistant Executive Director/Legal Services. Whiteman, who joined the sessions via conference call, coordinates the Kansas Association of School Boards Legal Department and assists with providing legal services, seminars, legal publications and other educational services to school board members, community college trustees, and educational service center members throughout Kansas.

The board then met in two executive sessions amounting to an hour in length for the purposes of discussing non-elected personnel with Superintendent Breese.

Their final executive session, which ended up being 15-minutes long, was for confidential business data with Superintendent Breese.

In personnel action, the board approved the hire of Rebekah Helget as the new Special Education Director for the Learning Cooperative of North Central Kansas. Helget replaces Audrey Pingel, who announced her retirement last month.

Helget comes to Concordia from USD 475 Geary County where she served as their Executive Director of Special Education, overseeing the special education department, as well as providing support to parents when they have questions and concerns about elementary students.

The Learning Cooperative of North Central Kansas supports member districts in screening and identifying students with exceptionalities and in providing appropriate educational supports in the least restrictive environment. The Special Education Cooperative supports five participating unified school districts over three counties. USD 333 Concordia serves as the sponsoring district for the cooperative. Other districts served by the cooperative are USD 224 Clifton-Clyde, USD 109 Republic County, USD 108 Washington County and USD 426 Pike Valley.

The board voted Monday to accept the retirement of KC Vignery, Maintenance Director, effective August 1st.

The board also approved the hire of Chelsey Greene, new Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher, and Julie Myers, 5th Grade through 8th Grade Interrelated Teacher for the Learning Cooperative of North Central Kansas.

And the board approved transferring JoDee Rothfuss from 5th Grade Teacher to 2nd Grade through 6th Grade Technology Teacher/Kindergarten through 4th Grade Tech Integration, and they approved transferring Stacey Larsen to the position of Integration Specialist.

In other action items, the board approved the purchase of a 2018 Suburban two wheel drive from Concordia Chevrolet Buick at a cost of $40,920.53. The vehicle replaces a district vehicle damaged recently in a 12 car pile-up while traveling to a Kansas Music Educators Association event. And the board approved a quote from McGraw-Hill Education of $50,483.15 for the purchase of new science materials and supplies for students in 7th Grade through 12th Grade. The six-year subscription bundle includes textbooks, as well as a digital platform, for Earth & Space Science, Life Science, Biology, Chemistry Matter & Change, Physics Principles and Problems, and Physical Science.

And Superintendent Breese presented the board with a partnership proposal between USD 333 Concordia and Cloud County Community College's Wind Energy Technology program. The college's Wind Energy Technology program has experienced increased enrollment to the point of needing additional facilities. Superintendent Breese told KNCK News they are proposing a partnership with Cloud County Community College to utilize the auto shop area.

The proposal would be to move the college's Mechanical Systems and Electronics training equipment to the auto shop lab area. The partnership would allow students from Concordia High School to attend college courses free of tuition through Senate Bill 155.

From 2006 to 2018, Cloud County Community College's Wind Energy Technology program has had a 100% job placement rate for graduates who were seeking employment.