New staff at Iron Mountain schools


Iron Mountain — Andrew Mendini has been appointed principal of North Elementary School and Amy Galvan principal of fifth through 12th grades at the Iron Mountain High School/Central Middle School/East Elementary School building, Jerry Sardina, superintendent of Iron Mountain Public Schools, announced.

Mendini replaces Donny Bianco, who was with the Iron Mountain School District for 25 years as a teacher, coach, principal and athletic director.

Mendini previously had elementary teaching positions at Iron Mountain for 13 years and Kingsford for the past nine years. He spent two years in the Army and an additional 13 in the Michigan Army National Guard as a combat engineer and military policeman.

He has a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational administration. He and his wife, Amy, have two children: Alyssa, who is attending Northern Michigan University; and Evan, who will be a sophomore at IMHS. He is excited to return to Iron Mountain and ready to welcome students and parents to a new school year. He is looking to continue efforts to make North Elementary the best place to learn.

Galvan replaces William Traber, who was the principal of East Elementary, Central Middle School and Iron Mountain High School for three years. Galvan has been in education in Illinois for 21 years, the last eight in administration. Before that she was a special education teacher in the middle and high school settings.


She has a bachelor of science degree in education, a master of educational leadership degree in education with an endorsement in director of special education, and a doctoral candidate in educational administration and leadership. Galvan has three children: Natalie and Drew, who will attend North Elementary School; and Brooke, who will attend Central Middle School.

Galvan is looking forward to the upcoming school year and is excited to be a part of the Iron Mountain community and begin working with exemplary students, staff and families of East Elementary School, Central Middle School and Iron Mountain High School. Her philosophy about leadership in schools can best be said by this quote by former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt: “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves,”

Other staff changes and additions include:

— Kylee Curry-Backlund, the new North Elementary early kindergarten teacher, graduated from Bay De Noc Community College and Michigan State University with her bachelor of arts in early care and education with a minor in human behavior and social science. She has previously taught at Holy Spirit Catholic Schools for three years. “I absolutely love teaching children at the kindergarten age, and instilling a foundation and the love of learning,” Curry said.

— North Elementary School’s newly appointed third grade teacher, Sommer Spencer, graduated from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa and has been since working as a long-term substitute teacher throughout the area. “I am so excited to join Iron Mountain Public Schools. I love reading and learning and can’t wait to share my passion with the community,” Spencer said.

–Eric Penn, Central Middle School and Iron Mountain High School’s new English teacher, recently graduated from NMU with a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education.

–Janey Christiansen joins the high school educational assistant team this year as well. Christiansen has a degree in early childhood education and has been a preschool teacher for three years. She joined the Iron Mountain family earlier this year when she became the middle school track coach. “As an IMHS alumni, I am thrilled to be back home and begin my position as educational assistant to assist students in their success,” Christiansen said.

— Benjamin Reath, the district’s former director of technology, has been promoted to district director of non-instructional services. His responsibilities include managing the technology and physical plant operations of Iron Mountain Public Schools. Reath has been an integral part of the IMPS district for three years and will continue to serve the staff and students of IMPS well in his new endeavors. Iron Mountain Public Schools also welcomes Michael Harrison as new operations assistant. He will assist Reath with implementing and maintaining technology and physical plant operations.

— Sarah Baumgartner, will replace Laura Hagan as the executive administrative assistant in the superintendent’s office. She was transportation and athletics secretary at North Elementary School last school year.

— Hagan will continue to work for IMPS as the district’s new educational data specialist, in a new location, North Elementary School. “I am looking forward to this new position. I will be continuing my five years of work and specializing in educational data,” Hagan said. She will continue to be a critical part of IMPS.

— At North and East Elementary, Beth Bray and Maria Basanese-Hill will transition their roles from art/drama and Title 1 teachers to full-time Title 1 teachers. Bray will teach Title 1 mathematics at North Elementary School and East Elementary School. Basanese-Hill will teach Title 1 English language arts at North and East as well.

— Linda Carpenter will serve as the newly appointed middle and high school drama club advisor. The club has been long awaited and already has interest from many students at all grade levels.

She has been in professional theater since she was 3 years old. She was classically trained at Southern Utah University and was very involved in the nationally known Utah Shakespearean Festival. She’s been involved in more than 200 productions, either on stage or backstage. There will be two full productions each school year.

This 2022-2023 school year will feature “Carol vs. Christmas” (a retelling of “A Christmas Carol”) and “The Day the Internet Died.” Auditions for “Carol vs. Christmas” will be Sept. 1.

— Maryssa Gussert, the district’s communication coordinator, will also serve as the newly appointed high school student council advisor this upcoming school year. Gussert graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor of arts in communications and has also served on her high school and college student councils for years. She said she is “looking forward to getting to know the students on a more personal basis, to help grow leadership skills as well as share what I have learned from my years of being a leader in and out of student council.”

Iron Mountain Public Schools is seeking individuals interested in applying for these district positions: fifth through 12th grade assistant principal and athletic director; elementary specials teacher and interventionist ; part-time school nurse; Spanish language teacher; middle school girls basketball coach; and food service professional.

Applications and job descriptions can be found at www.imschools.org/employment.html.


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