3 principals leaving NEJC elementary schools at end of year; long-tenured teachers going as well

Vicki Arndt Helgesen, affectionately known as Yoda to her students, will be retiring from SM East this year after 37 years with the district.
Vicki Arndt Helgesen, affectionately known as Yoda to her students, will be retiring from SM East this year after 37 years with the district.

Briarwood, Corinth and Highlands Elementary Schools will have new principals for the 2015-2016 school year.

On Monday, the Shawnee Mission School Board accepted notices of retirement from Dr. Kent Peach, Dennis Way and Marilyn Webb among more than four-dozen others from across the district.

Peach is currently in his third year at Briarwood, and had been with the Shawnee Mission School District for 10 years. Prior to that, he served 28 years in the Liberty School District, retiring in 2005 as Assistant Superintendent for Support Services. Peach, who was honored by the Missouri House of Representatives for his dedication to Liberty public schools, lives in Liberty and has 12 grandchildren in the area.

“It was a big decision, but I am excited about it now,” he said. “I’m going to take it easy.”

Way is in current in his first year at Corinth, having taken over in the fall for Ken Emley, who served nine years as Corinth principal. Prior to coming to Corinth, Way had been principal at Sunflower Elementary for seven years and East Antioch for the eight years before that. He retires with 29 years experience in the Shawnee Mission district.

Webb leaves Highlands after three years in the front office there, having taking the principal’s job in 2012 after the closure of Dorothy Moody Elementary, where she had been principal as well. Webb has been an elementary principal in the district since 1991. She retires with 39 years of experience in Shawnee Mission.

A number of SM East and SM North area teachers were among the retirements accepted Monday, as well. They are:

Elementary

  • Laurie Dean, a first grade teacher at Crestview Elementary, who retires after 20 years with the district.
  • Martha Friedrich, a first grade teacher at Santa Fe Trail Elementary, who retires after 11 years with the district.
  • Barbara Holland, a second grade teacher at Trailwood Elementary, who retires after 30 years with the district.
  • Linda McFarlane, a first grade teacher at Crestview Elementary, who retires after 10.5 years with the district.
  • Katharyn Talbott, a third grade teacher at Tomahawk Elementary, who retires after 16 years with the district.
  • Ginger Wendt, a fifth grade teacher at Corinth Elementary, who retires after 35 years with the district.
  • Judith Wolf, a classroom music teacher who spends most of her time with students at Roesland Elementary, who retires after 25 years with the district.

Secondary

  • Vicki Arndt-Helgesen, a social studies teacher at SM East, who retires after 37 years with the district.
  • Rose Detrixhe, a Spanish teacher at SM East, who retires after 14 years with the district.
  • Timothy Fisher, a science teacher at SM North, who retires after 19 years with the district.
  • Kim Harrison, a band teacher at SM East, who retires after 33 years with the district.
  • Barbara Johnson, a counselor at SM East, who retires after 28 years with the district.
  • Louise Lloyd, a FACS teacher at SM North, who retires after 13 years with the district.
  • Nicholas McGrain, a social studies teacher at SM North, who retires after 10 years with the district.
  • Debra Ogden, a physical education teacher at SM East, who retires after 34 years with the district.
  • George Sallas, the athletic director at SM North, who retires after 34 years with the district.
  • Janine Sisk, a physical education teacher at SM East who retires after 42 years with the district.

All of the retirements are effective June 30, 2015.