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The Decorah School District has been working hard to fill some pretty big shoes, following the retirement of 17 longtime teachers.
In January, of 26 eligible employees, 17 Decorah teachers with combined service of 508 years to the District announced they would retire.
Those teachers who took advantage of the District’s voluntary early retirement offer included the following: Elizabeth Lorentzen, high school art teacher, 43 years; Bill Post, high school business and physical education teacher, 41 years; Diane Lovstuen, facilitator for assessment and instruction, 41 years; Cindy Albers, high school PE teacher, 39 years; Susan Haemker, kindergarten teacher, 36 years; Rick Twedt, high school vo-ag teacher, 34 years; Ruth Procter, fifth-grade teacher, 34 years; Marilyn Sensor, kindergarten teacher, 34 years; Kris Lynch, seventh-grade teacher, 34 years; Barb Johnson, early childhood special education teacher, 32 years; Jim Fritz, high school band instructor, 28 years; Carol Gaustad, elementary art teacher, 25 years; Mary Wagner, third-grade teacher, 20 years; Ingrid Lansing, early childhood special education teacher, 19 years; Kathleen Severson, title/at-risk teacher, 18 years; Elaine Lore, high school family and consumer science teacher, 15 years ;and Meg Storkamp, seventh-grade teacher, 15 years.
Also retiring are long-time John Cline Administrative Assistant Susan Nelson, with 26 years experience, and Carrie Lee Administrative Assistant Barb Post, who is resigning after nine years with the District.

New hires
To date, the District has hired a number of new teachers, including: Family Consumer Science Teacher Dana Einck, Ag Science Teacher Joni Bruvold, ECSE/Preschool teachers Nicole Ondrashek and Clarissa Einck, Fifth grade teachers Heath Kelley and Jesse Lyon, Elementary Art Teacher Eric Dutcher,
High School Physical Education Teachers Cristy Nimrod and Michael Tangen, High School Instrumental Music Teacher Dustin Bliven, High School Art Teacher Colin Iben, Middle School Integrated Serviced Teacher (Level 2) Brett Jackson, Middle School Instrumental Music Teacher Emily Hahn, Transitional Kindergarten Teacher Shannon Putnam Dibble and First Grade Teachers Susan Maze and Johanna Delaney.

Internal transfers
Several District teachers have opted to transfer to positions vacated by retirees. This creates a domino effect, as their old positions then require filling.
These include: Steve Peterson, who is transferring from fourth grade to fifth grade; Sarah Casterton, who is transferring from high school to middle school; Gabe Twedt, Marcie Dodd and Beth Bauman, who are all transferring to kindergarten; Brigit Storhoff, fifth grade to seventh grade, and Andrea Knaack, who has accepted a Title 1 teacher position after being a part-time transitional kindergarten teacher.

Still open
The District is still looking to hire a high school library associate, dean of students, John Cline library associate, Carrie Lee administrative assistant, John Cline administrative assistant, curriculum director, kindergarten – 4th grade TAG teacher, high school biology teacher, fourth grade teacher and custodian.
In addition, the District will have many coaching positions it will focus on filling after the academic hiring is completed.