Principal changes in place for new school year in Bridgman

John Truesdell (left) succeeds Sam Stine (right) as Principal of Reed Middle School while Stine is the new leader at Bridgman High School. - photo by Janet Hayes

BRIDGMAN — There will be a lot of new faces when the school bells ring in Bridgman this September, beginning near the top with new principals at Bridgman High School and Reed Middle School.

At its Monday, Aug. 8, meeting the Bridgman Board of Education hired Sam Stine as high school principal to replace Chris Machiniak, who was recently named regional director of career & technical education with Berrien County RESA. Stine will also serve as special education coordinator for a one-year trial period, filling the vacancy created last spring by the departure of Erik Haskins.   

Replacing Stine as middle school principal will be John Truesdell, a teacher at St. Joseph High School for the past five years.

A Bridgman graduate, Stine has been the district’s middle school principal for the past five years. Prior to that, he was high school social studies teacher and basketball coach at St. Joseph High School, the same positions now held by his incoming replacment. He has a master’s in educational leadership from Western Michigan University and a bachelor’s from Michigan State University. He and his wife, Stacy, live in Bridgman with their two children.

Truesdell will complete his master’s degree in K-12 administration from Western Michigan University next June and holds a bachelor’s from the University of Michigan. He and his wife, Sam, live in St. Joseph with their 6-month-old son.

Other personnel changes include:

• Andy Steinbrook was hired as district maintenance technician, replacing Greg Hettlinger who is retiring after 39 years.

• Cheri Markham, who holds a bachelor’s from Andrews University,  will teach high school math and middle school social studies.

• Megan Badger, finishing her degree in general studies from Cornerstone University, will fill the position of middle school para-professional.   

In the process of being filled are two fifth-grade positions to replace Alyse Pallas, who is leaving for the private sector, and Darren Stemm, who will retire Nov. 22. Also to be filled is a new high school science position that was created after the departure of Todd Hendricks for a position in Grand Rapids.

New coaches include: Aaron Locke as head football coach, Steve Veldman as assistant football coach; Jim Ragosta and Heather Totzke as high school volleyball coaches; Megan Badger, eighth grade volleyball coach; Ken Schmaltz, varsity girls basketball coach; Janet Beemer, boys varsity swim coach, and Heather Steinbrook as new football sideline cheer coach.

In other Aug. 8 business, Superintendent Shane Peters reviewed the revised board policy that will require all volunteers be fingerprinted. He said this new rule arose from the fact that the suspect in the recent Berrien County Courthouse shooting had a criminal record and was a volunteer in another south Berrien County school district.   

Peters said that the previous background checks used for volunteers do not reveal criminal records. He said the term “volunteer” would be applied broadly to any person dealing with a Bridgman student, whether it is during a classroom party or a school bus trip.

He said the fingerprinting would be done during parent night events using a RESA portable machine, with the $54 per person cost paid by the district.

Also, Bridgman Public Schools was recognized as being one of only 58 districts in the state judged to be a Notably Successful school district by reaching an above average academic performance standard along with an additional performance standard.

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