2017-07-16 / News

North Branch hires new special education teacher

BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com


Sherri Distelrath (left) is relocating with her family — husband Jeremy and three young children — to the North Branch area in addition to being the new fifth and sixth-grade special education teacher in North Branch’s Ruth Fox Elementary. A North Branch Area Schools grad herself in 2003, Distelrath is “excited” that her children “will be little Broncos too.” 
Photo by Nicholas Pugliese Sherri Distelrath (left) is relocating with her family — husband Jeremy and three young children — to the North Branch area in addition to being the new fifth and sixth-grade special education teacher in North Branch’s Ruth Fox Elementary. A North Branch Area Schools grad herself in 2003, Distelrath is “excited” that her children “will be little Broncos too.” Photo by Nicholas Pugliese NORTH BRANCH — There will be a new face in North Branch Area Schools (NBAS) next year.

On Monday night, the NBAS Board of Education approved the hire of Sherri Distelrath to fill the vacant position of fifth and sixthgrade special education teacher in the Ruth Fox Elementary.

Distelrath graduated from NBAS in 2003 and has since developed a resume that board members and administration considered “impressive,” featuring both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at Saginaw Valley State University, including an elementary teaching certification and a special education endorsement in Autism. Over the past three years, Distelrath has worked at Cass City’s Transition Center, where she taught adults with cognitive impairments aged 18-26.

“I received a phone call from (Ruth Fox Elementary and North Branch Middle School principal) Cindy Howe and she said ‘you have got to hire this one,’” said North Branch Superintendent Jim Fish. “Cindy could not say enough great things about Mrs. Distelrath.”

Interviews for the open position were conducted by a panel comprised of Howe, Assistant Principal of Ruth Fox/NBMS Bill Barkowska, Special Education director Teresa Upleger and fifth-grade teacher Lyndsay Schaller.

“It was a slam dunk, she was by far the best candidate for the job,” said Barkowska. “We didn’t want someone else to come swoop in and steal her from us.” Barkowska told the Board of Education that being able to hire a person with Distelrath’s background and experience is a “no-brainer.” The position was available after previous fifth- and sixth grade-teacher Andrea Bower moved up to North Branch High School. “It’s a great hire for us and we look forward to her being her with us for a long time,” said Barkowska.

Board members commented on the interview committee and Fish’s recommendation to hire Distelrath. “As administration, we’re so excited about a new hire,” said board vice president Daniel Deshetsky, while board president Cory Mabery agreed, calling the hire “excellent, and for such a key position.”

“I’m thrilled for the opportunity to get to know the North Branch staff and students this upcoming school year as a special education teacher in the Ruth Fox Middle School building,” said Distelrath.

Present during Monday’s board meeting with her husband Jeremy and three small children, Distelrath expressed thanks to the board for her hire. “North Branch has always been welcoming and supportive of students in the district,” she said. “I look forward to assisting the North Branch staff in helping our students reach their full potential, and I am excited for my three children to all be in school as little Broncos in the near future.”

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