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Chelsea School District bond proposal on November ballot; new teachers hired

By Crystal Hayduk

The Chelsea School District (CSD) Board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to submit a bonding proposal to be placed on the Nov. 5 ballot. (Watch in the coming weeks for detailed information about the bond proposal, as well as opportunities to attend public information meetings.)

The board approved the hiring of three teachers, the first of the new employees of the 2019-20 school year.

Superintendent Julie Helber told the board that Andrea Franco will be the district’s English Language Learner (ELL) coordinator and language teacher. “She comes to us with a wealth of knowledge and has worked in California,” she said. “Colleen Bertoni, who we hired as a part-time Spanish teacher last year, will also be moving to full-time.”

Phillip Sylvester will be the high school’s new orchestra director. Helber said she never would have predicted they would hire a first-year teacher to fill the “big shoes left with Jed Fritzemeier’s retirement. But Mr. Sylvester knocked our socks off.”

Kristen Chinavare, who has been a long-term substitute and filled paraprofessional positions for the district, will be a science teacher at Beach Middle School (BMS). “She’s had a big impact on our kids and made good connections with them,” said Helber.

Helber said interviews will continue over the next few weeks in hopes of filling open positions before school begins. A list of job openings is available at

Helber informed the board that the district filled all School of Choice openings, with new students at every grade level except twelfth grade. The incoming kindergarten class netted seven of the 25 slots for school of choice students. In addition, 20 foreign exchange students will call Chelsea home this year. 

The district received a letter from Virginia Kerwin, executive director of the Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA), recognizing Steve Hinz, vocal music director, for his volunteer efforts as adjudication supervisor. Kerwin noted in her communication that his “willingness … to assume this extra layer of responsibility added to an already overwhelming teaching schedule is impressive and extraordinary.”

In closing, Kerwin wrote, “I encourage you and your greater school community to continue your strong support of music education. Know that every dollar spent for furthering the music education of a child opens the door to a future where challenges will be embraced with creative resolve.”

In other board news:

Construction of the BMS parking lot and drive continues. Additional space and new driving patterns should relieve the traffic congestion in that area and make student drop-off and pick-up safer.      

The board approved a donation of $2,000 from the Kiwanis Club for the preschool scholarship fund. “We are so thankful and excited for this donation,” said Helber.

The district received a copy of a letter from Sheila Alles, the interim state superintendent, congratulating Gretchen Kuras (’19) for receiving a National Community Service Award presented by InnerView. 

Upcoming dates:

The next school board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 26 at the Washington Street Education Center.  

Open House schedule: South Meadows Elementary and Beach Middle School from 5-7 p.m. on Aug. 27; North Creek Elementary and Chelsea High School from 5-7 p.m. on Aug. 28.

The first day of school for students is Sept. 3. 


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