Key Communicator - 5/21/24


Key Communicator Kirtland Local Schools Update

May 21, 2024


Welcome to the Kirtland Schools’ Key Communicator e-newsletter. We hope to use this tool as a two-way form of communication to share the good news going on in our classrooms, and also provide you with facts in the event of negative situations. We hope you will act as informal communications liaisons with the community and let us know what you’re hearing so we can proactively provide you with the facts of what’s happening in your schools. Thank you for your support!

Our Vision: Provide a personalized education for all students.

Our Mission: We educate students to be empowered citizens.


Gaga Pit built by Walter Knoop.
Gaga Pit

The commendations section of the Board of Education Meeting started by recognizing Walter Knoop for building a gaga pit at Kirtland Elementary School as part of his Eagle Scout project. It has been a tremendous addition to the playground area and the children love it. Here is more information on Walter's project:

Next, four long time and dedicated Kirtland staff were recognized for their years of service and congratulated on their retirement. They are school nurse Kim Crawford, KHS math teacher Scott Francis, KES teacher Carole Karikas and bus driver Karen Kog. Here is a link to more information on them:

Next, Al Russ was recognized for his 50 years of service to the Kirtland Local Schools. Here is a summary of what was shared:

Thank you to our retirees and Al for all that you have done for our students, schools and the district!

Next, two new staff were introduced and the Board voted to approve them for their new positions for the 24-25 school year. Julia Loncar will be the new occupational therapist, Caitlyn Henderson will teach third grade. Two other staff were approved but unable to attend this meeting. They will be introduced to the Board at the next meeting. Ryan Beeler will teach high school math and Marissa Robejsek will be the school nurse. Here is a link to information on our new employees.

Karen Kog is retiring after 37 years as bus driver in Kirtland.
Scott Francis is retiring after teaching math at Kirtland High and was the wrestling coach for 23 years.
Kim Crawford is retiring as the school nurse for the past 24 years.
Al Russ was recognized for 50 years of service at the Kirtland Schools.
Julia Loncar was hired as the new occupational therapist for the 2024-2025 school year.
Caitlyn Henderson was hired to teach at Kirtland Elementary next school year.

Superintendent Report

Thank you Lucy and Owen for your dedication and service to our country.
Superintendent Report

Mr. VanArnhem highlighted the following:

  • Congratulations to Tabitha Blankenship who earned her four year Bachelor’s Degree from Kent State University in Science in Information Technology.

  • Congratulations to our Girls’ Flag Football team that won the area championship for the third time in four years at the Cleveland Browns’ Stadium. They took home the trophy as the top of 51 teams!

  • Kudos to Mr. Race, the KMS Staff and KMS students for running the Screen Free week. A lot of valuable lessons were learned by all parties involved that include finding balance in life using technology. New5Cleveland Interview Channel 3 WKYC Interview

  • The principals and Mr. VanArnhem were selected to present at OSBA Conference next Fall on the Wellness Initiatives that have been implemented throughout the district.

  • We held a military signing day on May 20th. Keith McCrory, on behalf of Barber-Williams American Legion Post 609, led the ceremony to recognize:

    • Lucy Heller and Owen Teague on making the commitment to join the military.

      • Lucy will be joining the Air Force as a Security Force

      • Owen will be joining infantry, airborne.

      • Both will be leaving in Early July.

  • The senior class took one last trip down memory lane on Monday, May 20th as they were clapped out of KES and KMS.

  • Commencement is Sunday, May 26th at 3:00 pm at the Mentor High School Performing Arts Center.

Tabitha Earns Her BA Degree Before Her High School Diploma.
Another Flag Football Championship for Kirtland
Seniors were Clapped out at KES and KMS.

Superintendent Recommendations

The Board voted to approve the following superintendent recommendations:

  • To approve the graduation of the class of 2024, a contract for The Foundation United for state required dating and sexual violence prevention education, an overnight trip to Pennsylvania for Football Team Camp, Kirtland High School Travel Agent Contract for the Band Overnight Trip to New Orleans and Memphis, a donation from Cres Cor and Michael Capretta for a warming oven in the HS cafeteria (Thank you Michael Capretta and Cres Cor!), an $18,000 donation from John Wilson (Thank you John Wilson!) for new KHS gymnasium scoreboards, approved purchase of high school scoreboards, a contract to update playground equipment and the rubber surface, updated course of study, first reading of policy and the second reading of policy.

*attachments to these items can be found on the district website:

Treasurer Recommendations

Mr. Pendelton made the following recommendations and the Board approved:

  • Five year forecast, a workers compensation contract, reasonable assurance and non-renewal of supplemental and as needed contract.

*attachments to these items can be found on the district website:

The Kirtland Local Schools are known for academic excellence and strong community support, and have been recognized nationally and statewide for educational achievement. The district also maintains a long tradition of distinction in a variety of extracurricular activities. The Board of Education provides open and thoughtful fiscal management of the community’s investment in the school district’s high quality educational program by ensuring every dollar spent benefits students and the community. The strategic plan for the Kirtland Local Schools can be found at:

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Chad VanArnhem
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