Speech therapist, six teachers hired

A speech therapist and six new teachers were hired by the Wapakoneta City Schools Board of Education this week.

Wapakoneta City Schools Superintendent Keith Horner said the new hires fill in as-needed based on retirements and reassignments.

Whitney Fries is to serve as a speech therapist for the district. Details of her contract were not available. She takes the place of Deb Madden, who recently retired as a speech pathologist at Wapakoneta Elementary School after 38 years.

Jennifer Meyer, who brings 10 years of experience along with a bachelor’s degree, was hired as a sixth-grade language arts teacher at Wapakoneta Middle School at a salary of $51,356.

David Pepple, who is to teach chemistry and physics at Wapakoneta High School, also brings 10 years of experience with him to the job. His salary is to be determined upon verification of his degree and credit hours.

Timothy Smith is to take over for Todd Christopher as choral music teacher at Wapakoneta High School. He has no experience teaching and his salary is to be determined upon verification of his degree and credit hours.

The recent Ohio Northern University (ONU) graduate was selected as the top candidate of five called in for interviews from applicants for the position.

While the position teaching music to sixth-graders through high school seniors doesn’t include overseeing extracurricular activities such as show choir and the high school musical, Horner said the intent is for Smith to take on those supplementals.

The position was offered to two former elementary school teachers in the district who had lost their positions through Reductions in Force (RIFs) but both declined, Horner said.

Three of the teachers hired — Heidi LaMarr, Nichole Moran and Kimberly Mertz — have all spent time previously serving as instructional aids in the district.

“It’s a benefit to us to get a good look at them before we hire them,” Horner said.

LaMarr is to teach special education and English at Wapakoneta High School. With a bachelor’s degree and no prior teaching experience. She is expected to receive a salary of $33,566.

Moran is to teach special education at Wapakoneta Elementary School. She has a bachelor’s degree with no previous teaching experience. Her salary is to be $34,909. Mertz is to teach fourth-grade at Cridersville Elementary School. With no prior teaching experience and her salary is to be dependent upon verification of her degree and number of credit hours.