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Resignations, new hires face Rogers City schools

August 13, 2012
Jordan Travis - News Staff Writer , The Alpena News

ROGERS CITY - Students at Rogers City Area Schools will see a few new faces when they return to class in September, as the district's board of education has voted to hire two new teachers and appoint two employees to different positions.

At their Monday meeting, the board unanimously voted to hire Matthew Ponik and Ian Lundquist as teachers. The board also accepted the resignation of the head varsity and seventh grade volleyball coaches, and approved the hiring of a current district employee for the position of the former.

Ponik, 25, will teach middle school social studies and computer classes, he said. He is originally from Posen, and attended University of Michigan-Dearborn.

"I'm happy to be back in this area," he said.

Lundquist is from Alpena, he said, and he will work as a special education teacher. The 32-year-old will co-teach in algebra, geometry and English classrooms. He's a Saginaw Valley State University alumnus.

Lundquist and Ponik were both interviewed by a selection team prior to Monday's meeting, said district Superintendent Kathleen Makowski. Their hirings are contingent upon the successful completion of their criminal history record checks.

On the same night, the board accepted the resignation of Kristy Smolinski, head varsity volleyball coach, and Megan Przybyla, seventh grade volleyball coach. Smolinski resigned because her work schedule is too demanding and she can no longer make practices, Makowski said. She now works in hospitals in Cheboygan and Petoskey.

Przybyla resigned in order to focus on coaching the eighth grade volleyball team, Makowski said.

In Smolinski's place will be Jackie Quaine, who currently works for the district in the cafeteria kitchen and as a bus driver, Makowski said. Quaine recently worked with the junior varsity coach during team tryouts.

Prior to their decision, the board discussed a topic raised by an upset parent of a girl who was cut from the varsity team. The parent said her daughter was cut while underclasswomen were allowed to advance to varsity level, despite her daughter's higher scores in tryouts. She asked the board to consider adopting a policy addressing how teams are picked, especially since students are scored during tryouts.

Board members Michael Marx and Howard Madsen said the board hasn't typically told the district's coaches how to pick a team. Instead, this has been handled by the Athletic Department director, the building's principal and the district superintendent.

"I don't think, as a group, we want to go there," Madsen said.

Makowski said she, high school Principal Dave O'Bryant and Athletic Department Director Patrick Lamb are discussing the issue.

Along with hiring Lundquist, Ponik and Quaine, the board voted to hire Amanda Karsten as a kitchen aide. She has worked for the district before in a position that was terminated at the end of the year, Makowski said.

In other business:

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5688.



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