Patti Howard Dedication at CHS

On September 15th, at Charlestown High School’s Homecoming game, we proudly dedicated a plaque to Patti Howard, a retired GCCS teacher, who taught at both Charlestown and Jeffersonville High Schools.

Patti dedicated a whopping 34 years of her life to shaping the minds of countless students, impacting generations to come. Her unwavering commitment to education touched the hearts of many.

Not only is she a retired teacher for GCCS, but she is also an alumna and a former board member of the Greater Clark County Schools Education Foundation. Her connection to our community runs deep, and her dedication is unparalleled.

Patti’s legacy lives on, and her passion for education continues to inspire us all. Thank you for your tireless dedication to shaping young minds and for being an integral part of the GCCS family.

This past year, Patti was also one of five inductees from across the globe to the FCA Hall of Champions in Kansas City.
Photo Credits: Lowe Digital Media 
New Teacher Salaries

Introducing our NEW 2-Year Master Contract!

On August 31, 2023, the bargaining teams for GCEA and GCCS reached a tentative two-year agreement on contract language for the Collective Bargaining Agreement in effect July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2025. The Greater Clark Education Association voted to ratify the contract on September 19, 2023.

As part of this historic agreement, our dedicated teachers will receive a substantial $5,000 increase over the next two years, further demonstrating our unwavering commitment to their invaluable work. This remarkable raise not only elevates the base pay by an impressive $8,000 over the past four years but also ensures our teachers are recognized for their dedication and passion for education!

Here’s a breakdown of the contract terms:

Year 1: Teachers will enjoy a $2,500 across-the-board increase, raising the entry-level teacher pay to $46,500.

Year 2: There will be an additional $1,500 across-the-board increase, elevating the entry-level teacher pay to $48,000. Returning teachers will also receive a bonus of 2 levels, equivalent to another $1,000 increase.

This commitment to our educators has led to an exceptional starting teacher pay of $48,000 for the 2024-2025 school year.

Thank you for your dedication to our students and our community! Together, we’re shaping a brighter future.

Utica Elementary Announced as a Blue Ribbon School
Utica Elementary Announced as a Blue Ribbon School

We are thrilled to share the incredible news: Utica Elementary School has earned the highly esteemed National Blue Ribbon Award!

This prestigious recognition is a testament to our unwavering dedication to academic excellence and fostering a nurturing educational environment. The award acknowledges schools for their outstanding academic achievements and progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups.

“I am very proud of the staff, students, and parents for being named a 2023 National Blue Ribbon School at Utica Elementary.  I also want to thank Principal Kathy Gilland for providing excellent leadership at Utica Elementary and setting a high standard for her students,” said Mark Laughner, Superintendent. “Being one of only 11 schools in Indiana to be named a National Blue Ribbon School is a great achievement.”

Utica Elementary Principal, Kathy Gilland, also had a few words. “This national recognition for high achievement is a great honor and is possible because of the amazing staff, students, parents, and community that has continuously supported our school and held education in high esteem.”

This milestone wouldn’t have been achievable without the unwavering support of our wonderful community.  Thank you for your invaluable contribution in making this remarkable achievement possible!

NWMH/NWHS Therapy Dogs
NWMH/NWHS Therapy Dogs

Meet our New Washington Middle/High School Therapy Dogs! This program started during the 2021-2022 school year to combat the increase of students facing difficulties with their mental health, with the hopes of decreasing the effect it has on their ability to learn.

With the goal of improving students’ social and emotional learning needs, based on research from the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL) we decided to try and implement this program. Research shows some of the benefits of having therapy dogs include: an increase in confidence, increased student attendance, decreased anxiety behaviors which improved learning outcomes, improved motivation, enhanced relationships with peers and teachers and so much more!

We are so lucky to have such a PAWsome group of dogs and handlers on campus! Meet our team!

The Academy Advocate

High School ambassadors from across the district delivered training sessions at IU Southeast to the newly selected elementary and middle school ambassadors. These session topics included Leadership, Professionalism, Communication, Branding, & Networking—all critical skills and components to being an ambassador. At the culmination of these sessions, the middle school ambassadors were responsible for creating and presenting a “Portrait of an Ambassador” from their school. This “portrait” required students to apply what they learned—from the planning, to the creation, to the presentation—in their breakout sessions. The elementary ambassadors wrapped up their breakout sessions with a Kahoot competition, where teams applied their knowledge and answered questions related to the training they received.

Click here to read the Q1 Academy All-Stars Newsletter.

Click here to read The Academy Advocate – October 2023

Meet Your Admin!

Mark Laughner, Superintendent

Meet Mark Laughner, our Superintendent at GCCS! With 5 years at the helm and a whopping 29 years in education, he’s been guiding our district to greatness. Mark’s journey at Greater Clark spans 19 years, with roles as principal at Parkview Middle and Charlestown High. He’s a Hoosier at heart, hailing from Michigantown, Indiana.

His academic journey includes Purdue University, Florida Atlantic University, and Indiana State University.  Mark’s teaching journey began after a baseball injury, and he’s been making a positive impact on students, staff, parents, and our community ever since.

Dr. Kimberly Hartlage, Deputy Superintendent

Meet Dr. Hartlage, the educational powerhouse behind Greater Clark County Schools! With 14 dedicated years in our district, she’s currently our Deputy Superintendent, working closely with our Superintendent to create outstanding educational programs from preschool to grade 12.

Dr. Hartlage supervises staff in improving curriculum, professional development, and instructional programs. She’s also the go-to person for Federal and State Grants.

A Southern Indiana native, Dr. Hartlage completed her education at Indiana University and earned a Ph.D. in Education Administration from Indiana State University. Her joy comes from enriching students’ lives and building a stellar learning organization through collaboration with our community.

Laura Hubinger, CFO

Say hello to Laura Hubinger, our financial wizard and Chief Financial Officer at GCCS!  With over 30 years of school finance expertise, she’s been keeping our budget in check for a little over 3 years.

Laura loves school finance and works closely with the admin team, Superintendent, and Board of Trustees to ensure our students and staff have the best learning environments. Outside the office, she’s a golf enthusiast and enjoys quality time with friends.

Daniel Borders, Director of Transportation

Meet Daniel Borders, our Director of Transportation at GCCS! With over 20 years of experience, he’s been ensuring our students have safe and reliable rides to school. Daniel’s journey began as a small business owner who started driving a bus for his family’s medical insurance, and he’s been hooked ever since!

Beyond work, he’s a family man with 5 children and a granddaughter. He’s also a movie buff and classic car enthusiast.

Melissa Bower, Director of Secondary Education

Meet Melissa Bower, our Director of Secondary Education at GCCS!  She’s been rocking this role since 2019, but her journey with GCCS started way back in 1999.

Melissa began as a teacher at Parkview Middle, then became Assistant Principal in 2011, and in 2018, she took on the Director of Technology position. Her favorite part? Staying connected with teachers and students across all three GCCS communities.

And here’s a cool fact – she’s a proud Charlestown High School graduate and a true product of GCCS!

Karen Wesely, Director of Elementary Education

Meet Karen Wesely, our Director of Elementary Education, this will be her 24th year with Greater Clark County Schools. One of her favorite things about her job is working with school leaders and teachers to provide training and support to maximize every minute spent with our students for their academic and social success. She is also a Charlestown High School alumni! She also attended Indiana University for her Bachelor’s degree, Indiana University Southeast for her Masters and Administration Certification, followed by Oakland City University for her Doctorate in Education.
Karen is also a local resident of Charlestown where she lives with her husband and daughter. She and her family love to spend time with family/friends, travel, and support the Hoosiers!

Brooke Lannan, Director of Special Populations

Meet Mrs. Brooke Lannan, our dedicated administrator at Greater Clark County Schools! With 17 years in education and 14 years right here, she’s a true Hoosier at heart. Mrs. Lannan oversees Special Education, English Learner, and High Ability programs for all grades, making sure every student gets the support they need.

She’s all about helping students grow and thrive, and she’s super proud of the work we’re doing to boost their social and emotional well-being. Join us in celebrating Mrs. Lannan’s passion for education and her love for our community!

Tricia Helton, Director of Human Resources

Meet Tricia Helton, our Director of Human Resources at GCCS!  With 16 years of dedication to our district, she’s been making sure our team thrives. Tricia started at Wilson Elementary in 2007 and climbed the ladder to become our HR whiz. Her favorite part of the job? Her awesome team and all the amazing things they do for our employees.

On a personal note, she’s a Southern Indiana native, an IU Southeast grad with a Master’s from Webster University.

And here’s a sweet tidbit – she met her husband when she was just 14 years old!

Beverley Woodring, Director of Food Services

Meet Beverley Woodring, our Director of Food Services, who joined our team in 2021. While she’s new to K-12 Education, she brings a strong background in food and beverage services, as well as finance. In college, she majored in Accounting and previously served as the controller for Levy Restaurants at Churchill Downs. Most recently, she was the General Manager for the Kentucky International Convention Center, where she masterminded menus for groups as large as 3000 people!

One of her favorite aspects of her job is witnessing students in the cafeterias enjoying their meals, trying new foods, and showing enthusiasm for items on the menu.

Nate Koets, Director of Facilities for Greater Clark County Schools

Say hello to Nate Koets, our newest addition at GCCS since August 2023! ???? With over 15 years of experience in educational facilities management, he’s making our school spaces top-notch. ????
Nate’s favorite thing? Watching our students explore and use the new and upgraded facilities across our district.
Fun fact: He started his career on an international seminary campus, serving students and faculty from over 30 different nations.

Chris Gunthner, Director of Facilities for Perfection Group

Meet Chris Gunther, our facilities maestro at GCCS! With 5 years with the Perfection Group, he’s made our school environment comfy, clean, and conducive to learning. Chris has been with us for 3 years, and he’s no stranger to Southern Indiana – he graduated from Providence High School.  He is also a Ball State University alumni.

His favorite thing about this role? Making a real difference in the lives of our future leaders by ensuring they have a top-notch learning space.
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