Union public school officials said they are ready to kick off another school year.

Superintendent Steve Bryant said there are 27 new teachers for the 2012-13 school year, four new administrators, as well as several new members of the support staff.

“We are really excited about the quality of new folks,” he said. “The outlook is promising for the new year.”

Classes begin Tuesday at all Union R-XI School District schools.

Bryant said the custodial staff and facility crews have worked hard to get ready for the new year.

“The buildings look as good as they can look at the start of the new year,” he added.

Clark-Vitt Elementary got a face-lift during the summer break and has been painted to better match other district schools and the district color scheme.

Open houses were held at the school beginning Thursday.

“There seems to be a really positive mood,” Bryant said. “We are very pleased with how things are shaping up.”

Bryant added that there was an all-district meeting scheduled Friday, Aug. 17.

New Administrators

The most recent hire for the district was Dr. Justin Tarte who is the curriculum and human resources director.

He has worked in the St. Louis area as a German teacher and most recently as an administrator in Poplar Bluff. He has been in education about seven years.

Dr. Jenny Davis recently was named the principal at Clark-Vitt Elementary.

Davis said that she and Leslie Lause will be working as a team, and both are eager to get started working with the students, teachers, support staff, parents and community.

She is a longtime educator who began teaching communication arts at St. Clair Junior High School in 1995. She also coached basketball, track and later became the head softball coach.

While at SCJH, Davis completed a master’s degree in administration.

In 2006 Davis was trained as a STARR (Selected Teachers as Regional Resources) teacher while taking educational specialist courses in superintendency. In 2006-2007 she was named as the SCJH Teacher of the Year.

She received her educational doctorate last fall and her dissertation topic was the early release Fridays at the Union R-XI School District.

In 2007 she was named the assistant principal at Clark-Vitt Elementary and district curriculum support instructor.

She was named the district curriculum coordinator in 2009, and began working with teachers and administrators full time on curriculum, instruction, assessment and professional development.

Doug Cuneio, had been a junior high principal in Salem, Mo., was hired to replace Dennis Lottmann as the Union High School principal.

Lottmann retired and was named the principal at Immaculate Conception Grade School.

Cuneio originally is from the Sullivan area and is a graduate of Sullivan High School.

He attended Culver-Stockton College on a basketball scholarship. Cuneio has a master’s degree from William Woods University.

Cuneio’s first teaching job was in St. Clair. He then moved to Rolla with his wife and taught for six years.

He was an assistant principal and the head principal in Salem.

Cuneio also has coached basketball, track and football.

Ty Crain was the principal of a middle school in Monroe City last year and was hired earlier this year for the Union Middle School principal job. Former UMS prinicpal Gary Menke retired following last school year.

Crain graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2001 with a degree in agricultural education and was employed as a teacher in the Monroe City R-1 School District for six years.

During his tenure as a teacher in the agricultural education department, Crain received a master’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Missouri and was awarded the Teachers Turn the Key award in 2004 from the National Association of Agriculture Education Teachers.

Other Changes

Chris Arand will remain the district activities director but also will assist as a director with facilities. Brian Baeres is the new supervisor of the maintenance/custodial department.

UHS teacher Eric Webster is the new football coach. He had served as an assistant coach under Brent Eckley, who accepted a job at Jackson High School.

Amy Carlson accepted a promotion to associate principal at UHS with an emphasis in program development.

The assistant UMS principal Nathan Bailey will be the assistant UHS principal and ninth-grade coordinator.

Leslie Lause accepted the Union Middle School/Clark-Vitt assistant principal position.