Zionsville Community Schools Board of Trustees honors teachers, retirees


By Sara Baldwin

The Zionsville Community Schools Board of Trustees met May 14 to recognize the Teacher of the Year, discuss the Strong in Every Way initiative and vote on upgrades to the HVAC system.

What happened: Zionsville Community Schools announced Teacher of the Year, presented by Lynn Kissel, ZCS community relations coordinator. Each school principal worked with staff to choose one Teacher of the Year. Zionsville Middle School language arts teacher Amy Ertel was named Teacher of the Year for the entire district.

“Amy has spent 17 years with the professional mission to empower students to be independent thinkers, writers, readers, historians and humans,” Kissel said.

What’s next: Ertel is now a nominee for the Indiana State Teacher of the Year. The winner is expected to be announced in the fall. 


Garrett Stephens – 2 years in current position, 3.5 years experience – Wellness K-4 at Boone Meadow Elementary

Shirley Lemons – 32 years at ZCS — fourth-grade teacher at Eagle Elementary

Laurie Wanser – 2 years in current position, 15 years experience – Wellness K-4

Katie Delp – 6 years in current position, 19 years experience – second-grade teacher at Stonegate Elementary

Krista Perman – 18 years in current position, 25 years experience – Developmental Preschool teacher at Union Elementary

Amy Ertel – 12 years in current position, 17 years experience – Language Arts teacher at ZMS

Sarah Livengood – 5 years in current position, 12 years experience – Special Education at ZWMS

Craig Callahan – 3 years in current position, 10 years experience – Social Studies at ZCHS

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Zionsville Middle School Language Arts teacher Amy Ertel, center, displays her ZCS District Teacher of the Year award with ZMS Principal Sean Conner, left, and Supt. Scott Robison. (Photo by Sara Baldwin)

What happened: The board of trustees approved the purchase of grounds equipment totaling more than $30,000 and HVAC equipment totaling $2.5 million.

What it means: The purchase of a specialized flatbed trailer up to $12,000 passed unanimously. The trailer also can be used as a forklift, one-person lift and ice-melt spreader. Also unamiously passsed was the purchase of a specialized machine for field upkeep, used for aerating turf and grating and leveling the clay on baseball fields. The machine also can assist in snow removal.  The cost was $18,401.

Consideration of 2018 HVAC project bids was presented by Victor Landfair, vice president of The Skillman Corp. Skillman recommended nearly $2.5 million for plumbing and heating of multiple ZCS facilities. The expenditure, encompassing a series of ongoing HVAC updates, passed unopposed.

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Santiago Sheker, a third-grader at Stonegate Elementary, speaks about determination, one of the Five Traits of Success taught in the Strong In Every Way program. (Photo by Sara Baldwin)

What happened: Amanda Slonaker provided a year-end update on the Strong In Every Way initiative. Students presented what they learned from the SIEW pilot series.

What it means: The Strong In Every Way initiative encompasses three main domains – developing connections with students, assets and resources and cultural understandings. The SIEW pilot series focused on The Five Traits of Success: ethics, compassion, wellness, confidence and determination.

What’s next: Strong In Every Way is hosting a Community Challenge at 8 a.m. July 28 at the ZCHS St. Vincent Health Stadium. Learn more at programs.zionsvilleeaglerec.com/strong-in-every-way-community-challenge.cfm.

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Lyle Browne, chief operating officer of the Zionsville Education Foundation, gives an update on ZEF’s 2018 grants. (Photo by Sara Baldwin)

What happened: Zionsville Education Foundation Chief Operating Officer Lyle Browne gave an update on ZEF’s 2018 grants.

What it means: The Zionsville Education Foundation awarded more than $25,000 in grants. The grants included iMac upgrades, sustainable tower gardens, extending the diversity of books that promote cultural understanding, group counseling through gardening and Strong in Every Language – a program that facilitates better communication with students and families for whom English is not their first language.

What’s next: There will be a full report from ZEF in June on “What does community growth mean for ZCS?”


What happened: Students in Jonann Lamaster’s second-grade Boone Meadow Elementary class presented what they learned from 2018 Market Day Legacy Projects.

What it means: Each year, second-grade students across Zionsville participate in Market Day, where they design a product and then advertise and sell it to other students. Typically, the money is donated to a cause, but this year Boone Meadow second-graders decided to try something different with the money by creating legacy projects to improve their school. The students raised $1,800 and used it to create a rock garden and water bottle refill station. They also added trees and plants, soccer goals and a world map.


What happened: Zionsville Community Schools celebrated the careers and service of teachers who are retiring this year.


Rhea Vandenberg – 12 years – Preschool Resource Teacher at Zionsville West Middle School “Rhea has a big heart, and would do anything for any family or child.” – Christina Moore, assistant director of special education at ZCS

Jamie Neese – 12 years – Speech Language Pathologist at PVE

Shirley Lemons – 32 years – fourth-grade teacher at Eagle Elementary “It has been an honor to work for ZCS, and I will always be your biggest fan.” – Shirley Lemons

Kathy Crone – 18 years – Kindergarten at PVE

Michal Estes – 25 years – Kindergarten at PVE, previously taught special education

Julie Breuninger – 12 years – ZWMS school counselor

Libby Rease – 19 years – ZWMS seventh- and eighth-grade social studies

Leanne Thacker – 23 years – seventh- and eighth-grade Language Arts

Judy Enders – 18 years – counseling secretary at ZMS

Christy Tharp – 15 years – counseling secretary at ZMS

Jennifer Kennedy – 6 1/2 years – secretary