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Harlem School District Welcomes Eleven New Hires


August 14, 2019

On the first day of school, August 22, Harlem School District will welcome several new faculty members and one new staff member for the 2019-20 school year. Five of these in-coming employees will work at the junior/senior high school, another five at the elementary school, and one in the kitchen.

At the junior/senior high school, Amy Agdasi has been hired to teach math. Through a teacher exchange program, Ms. Agdasi will be travelling to the United States on a J-1 Visa from the Philippines, where she has seven years of teaching experience.

Not quite so far from home, James Kobeski will be joining the school district from Pennsylvania and bringing with him thirteen years of teaching experience. He will serve as Harlem’s Family and Consumer Science instructor.

A graduate of MSU-Northern, Laramie Schwenke earned her Bachelor of Science in Health & Physical Education (K-12) in 2018. She will not only be taking over Mr. Shupe’s Weight Training classes but performing as the District Athletic Director, as well.

Winona Azure, who is returning to Harlem after teaching in Arlee for the past four years, will be employed in the Special Education room.

An addition to the art department, Mary-Kate Nienhuis-French, previously from Harlowton, has seventeen years of teaching experience in Montana. She rounds out the list of new junior/senior high school hires.

A second hire from Harlowton, Michelle Gorecki will put her five years of teaching experience to work as an Elementary Reading Specialist.

Returning to Montana after three years away and coming most recently from Tennessee, Gloria McKinely will serve in the Elementary Special Education. Ms. McKinely has nineteen years of teaching experience.

Another current graduate of MSU-Northern, Alicia Noel completed her student teaching at Harlem Elementary in 2019, so she is familiar not only with the faculty and staff but with school routines. She will join two veteran sixth grade teachers on staff, Jessica Cochran and Kristin Landre.

Joining the trio of Kindergarten teachers, John Orsborne, Jr. will be commuting to Harlem from Havre. He has taught out of state for the last five years.

The final addition to the elementary faculty has taught in Hays/LodgePole for the past 17 years. Kathleen Turntoes will be teaching fourth grade.

The lone classified staff hire is William Blackcrow. He will work in the kitchen as a Junior/Senior High Assistant Cook.

In addition to these new staff and faculty members, Superintendent of Harlem School District, Doreen Warren announced that there will be an open house on August 21 from 8:00-noon at both schools. She also invites students and their extended family members to the welcome back picnic scheduled from noon-1:00 at the elementary school, located at 110 3rd Avenue SW in Harlem.

“Traditionally we serve students and their extended family members during the annual picnic. However, community members always join in the fun as well,” Warren said.

Warren expressed excitement about heading in to the 2019-2020 school year, saying: “Our school trustees, our staff, and I worked very hard last year to address some teacher shortages. Not only did we offer generous salary increases, we now offer signing bonuses and moving expense stipends to new teachers. Also significant is the fact that we honor experienced teachers by allowing them to bring in fifteen years of experience—which is a very unusual practice in Montana school districts. I am thrilled that we have attracted teachers from across Montana and from across the United States! Additionally, we arranged for a high school math teacher through a cultural exchange with the Philippines. Our back-to-school theme this year celebrates all of our staff members as superheroes!”


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