Meramec Valley R-III School District has a new administrative team is in place this year due to a realignment in the district.
Pacific Intermediate will now serve all fifth- and sixth-graders in the district, and Riverbend Middle School will serve seventh- and eighth-graders.
All elementary schools will service students in kindergarten through fourth grade.
The first day of classes in the district is Thursday, Aug. 15.
“Through attrition we had administrators leave the district for other positions and people in the district take on new assignments,” said Ketina Armstrong, director of communications.
For example, Armstrong was the principal of Zitzman Elementary last year, and has been replaced by Keith Orris, who had been Robertstville Elementary’s principal the past two years.
Armstrong has been with Meramec Valley for 24 years. She has held various roles, including early-childhood teacher, SACC director, Nike Elementary principal, Riverbend principal, Zitzman principal and now director of communications.
Armstrong said that some new roles were created with realignment, which did bring in some new faces to the district.
Riverbend Middle School
Dr. Jill Johler will be the new assistant principal at Riverbend. She is a new face in the district.
Johler comes from the Wentzville School District, where she worked as a seventh- and eighth-grade science teacher for 10 years. Prior to becoming a teacher, she worked as a chemist in research and development at Mallinckrodt.
“I am exceptionally excited to be a part of the transition to a seventh- and eighth-grade building,” Johler said. “I look forward to the opportunity to work with the staff to create a strong and resilient community of learners.”
Jessica Tollison will take over as the new assistant principal at Pacific Intermediate.
Tollison comes from the St. Clair School District where she was assistant principal at Edgar Murray Elementary.
She has been in education for 16 years, previously working as a elementary and middle school teacher in the Washington School District. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Missouri State University. She received a master’s degree in elementary and middle school administration from Missouri Baptist University.
Orris takes over as the principal at Zitzman Elementary, where he should be a familiar face. As stated above, Orris comes from Robertsville Elementary after serving as principal there for the past two years.
This will be Orris’ fifth year as an administrator, after serving as an assistant principal between Zitzman and Coleman elementary schools for two years.
He has spent a total of 13 years in education, previously as a business teacher at Pacific High School and a physical education teacher at Zitzman before becoming an administrator.
“We are excited to be a kindergarten through fourth-grade building and have space for all our students to meet their educational needs,” Orris said. “There will be new playground equipment installed this year thanks to many generous donors. Additionally, we plan to continue our implementation of Leader in Me as we move into the third year of creating leaders in our community.”
Dr. Jenna Sladek will move to Truman Elementary to serve as the principal. For the past two years, she has split her time as an assistant principal between Coleman and Zitzman Elementary schools.
Prior to joining the Meramec Valley, Sladek worked in the Hazelwood School District for six years as an elementary teacher.
She has a doctor of educational leadership degree from Lindenwood University.
“The upcoming year will be exciting for Truman Elemetnary as we continue to use Truman Times with fourth-grade student leaders as a communication platform, as well as starting a student leader ambassador program with third-grade student leaders to continue highlighting the great things that we do day in and day out,” Sladek said. “Both of these programs have our students at the center of our focus as they lead us to greatness.”
Dan Munson will replace Orris as principal at Robertsville Elementary. Munson has been in education for 15 years and this will be his 12th year with Meramec Valley. He worked as an art teacher for Nike and Robertstville Elementary while coaching volleyball at Pacific High School.
“Meramec Valley quickly became a home to me 11 years ago,” Munson said. “I truly could not imagine myself anywhere else. I am looking forward to partnering with the Robertsville community to bring monthly events to our school.”