Two New Hires in D159 Strike A Chord

Anthony Soyak and Karen Bussean were hired by the D159 Board of Education on Wednesday, Aug. 1, as full- and part-time music teachers respectively.

Two new faces will step up to the podium to lead music classes in Mokena schools this year. Anthony Soyak and Karen Bussean will both teach music and physical education in the district during the 2012-13 school year, following the approval.

Bussean, a former president of the Music Booster Club and current district summer band leader, will take on a part-time role within the District. While Soyak will fulfill the District's final fulltime music education position.

“Karen, she just really had a lot of interest in it,” said . “She wanted to do what was best for the students, she just really appears to have a love of music.”

Kirchner said that Bussean's passion for the band was a major factor in the hiring process, citing the extra time and responsibilities running a band can add to a teacher's plate.

“With finding somebody, especially that has to work with the band, there's so many, really, extra duties that come with it,” Kirchner said. “That seemed to be something that was of a high interest to her.”

Soyak, a recent graduate of Roosevelt University with a master's degree in  music performance and a bachelor's degree in music education in 2011, comes to the District after student-teaching at this past fall. Kirchner said that Soyak stood out with his musical knowledge, articulation and outstanding letters of recommendation.

“It was very evident he was really educated in musical education,” Kirchner said. “He presented himself very well.”

Soyak has past student teaching experience at three other grade schools as well, according to his resumé.

Both teachers will also be asked to teach physical education within the district—something that will be a first for both. However, Kirchner said that she and the board have every confidence they will do an outstanding job.

“They showed an interest in it, they both came back [during the second interview] and showed they had done their research on it,” she said.

Kirchner said that nine total candidates were interviewed for the job. Both new teachers are already in the building, taking inventory of items and prepping for the coming year, which begins Monday, Aug. 20.

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R.W.Voter August 07, 2012 at 03:27 PM
More money down the drain. If a child is interested in music, get him music lessons. Is it mandatory that the children take music, even if they don't want to? Most grammar school children I know want no part of it. Then physical education, another mandate for the children. They wouldn't need P.E. if they took a walk once in a while, or rode their bicycle for miles, or just played baseball in the park, but the summer is almost over and I haven't seen any of the little darlings except for them getting into Mom's car to be driven somewhere. Lets see, the school district feeds them lunch, takes them to the museums, teaches them music and keeps them in shape. These used to be the duties of the parents. Times don't always change for the better, and these changes cost us taxpayers a fortune. Thank you.
Shawn Carroll August 07, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Why? Schools have fostered music education for decades. Many musicians got their start in a humble school music room. There is a direct relation between math and music; should we get rid of math then and suggest private tutors for everyone? PE has been required since the Army realized that too many WWII recruits were meeting requirements. One could argue that you want to endanger our countries military readiness by removing PE... Times are better
Cary Wilson August 07, 2012 at 07:45 PM
GET OFF MY LAWN !!! Thanks for sharing a little of your bitterness. I think Stateville offers more programs than you would. I think what you are trying to say is "my taxes are to high" .This teacher and a half are not the budget-busters. It's the bloated pensions and outgoing salary tricks that are going on. Too many free cars given out to 'civil servants', along with free gasoline. Direct your anger at the large problems, not the obvious targets.
ALS August 07, 2012 at 08:13 PM
If schools only taught things that kids "wanted to do or learn" all they would teach all day is video games, naps, and eating junk food. Why even teach them at all, R.W. Voter? Not all children that go to our schools have parents that are educated or financially capable of providing a good home life or well rounded activities. As a society, we have a norm of providing a healthy education. We have schools with teachers because they are educated enough to teach children. Not all parents have the skills to do that.
R.W.Voter August 07, 2012 at 09:41 PM
I would not have a public school teacher educate a child of mine, I would probably home school or put the child in a private school. The education system is loaded with union members interested primarily in their contract. Most of those who get degrees in education are at the bottom of the college standings. I don't think that todays teachers have that burning desire to teach, it is nothing more than a good job with good benefits, and the children suffer, but maybe we can send them on another useless field trip. Thank you.
Carol August 08, 2012 at 01:42 AM
I was sad to hear that a brilliant composer, Marvin Hamlisch, passed away way before his time, way too young. As I was reading an article online about him, I was struck by what I read about Mr. Hamlisch: He often criticized the cuts in arts education. “I don’t think the American government gets it,” he said during an interview. “I don’t think they understand it’s as important as math and science. It rounds you out as a person. I think it gives you a love of certain things. You don’t have to become the next great composer. It’s just nice to have heard certain things or to have seen certain things. It’s part of being a human being.” Well said, Mr. Hamlisch, well said! Rest in peace! :( As for the two new hires . . . . welcome aboard! I personally know Mrs. Bussean, and I know that she will do an amazing job! Her enthusiasm for music is contagious! The school district is lucky to have her!
R.W.Voter August 08, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Mr. Hamlish was one in a million, he was gifted at age 7, he didn't go to P.S. 13. Country artist Roger Miller was received only minimum education, musical talent is in your blood or it's not. These courses are not required to get you through life, therefore they should be electives. Some may disagree, but I strongly disagree with the many school districts that require community service be required for graduation. If you want to volunteer, then do it, it should not be required. Thank you.
kimberly perch August 08, 2012 at 04:16 AM
This school district really seems to be unable to say no to the band/music parents. Learning to play the recorder, shake a tamborine or bang on a triangle will not help my child do well on the ACT, succeed in high school or get into the college of their choice. Nor will it help in their future career. Having kids who have no interest in music sit in music class is pointless and a waste of their already short school day. It should be an elective, just like art, french and spanish should be. On a side note,I would think that music teachers would need an endorsement in PE at the junior high level in order to teach it. Do these teachers have one? Seems like the district is trying to justify having 3 music teachers on staff and looking for ways to keep them busy. Band , music and choir should ONLY be extracurricular activities. They should not be part of a junior high or high school curriculum. Even LW East realizes this as they have gotten rid of their one year of fine art requirement and now ask students to take an elective in the area of their choosing (fine art, technical or foreign language).
R.W.Voter August 08, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Kimberly, I agree with you 100% and must say I couldn't have put it better myself. I was never interested in art or music classes, in high school I flunked the glee club audition on purpose. Wasting time forcing children to take these courses just hurts those that want to learn the subjects that will help them advance in life. These children are not being educated, I would like to know how many of them have ever failed and weren't promoted. They come out of these public schools and have to take remedial courses in Junior college, because local schools failed. All due to the growing Education Dynasty. Thank you, and Kimberly have a wonderful day.
Publicola August 08, 2012 at 09:46 PM
I have to strongly disagree with the other comments here. Grade school is not a technical institute where kids are trained like pets to learn the tricks necesasry to pass standarised tests and fit like cogs into jobs that hopefully will still exist 15 years hece. Rather, kids should be able to learn things that will enable them to function as civilised and cultured adults well into their mature years. Being able to stay in tune or draw a picture well, or even say a phrase in spanish, indeed will not help them get a higher ACT score or land a job programming a computer somday, but should serve them later in life. On the other hand, having some knowledge of who were the great classical composers and what they wrote, may come in handy when entertaining a client 20 years or so after they have had music in the 5th grade. People in other cities and countries are not as utilitarian as we are. Such 'foreigners' may indeed have something to talk about other than the latest sports scores or Kardashian scoops.
This is not good enough. August 10, 2012 at 12:55 AM
The article says that they will teach PE "within the district," not necessarily at the junior high. The state requirements for endorsements are constantly changing, but I'm sure the district would not ask them to teach subjects they are legally unqualified for (what endorsements are needed to teach certain subjects at certain levels are a matter of state law). Also, there ARE curricular music classes at LWE; they are optional, yes, but not solely extracurricular. I think it is also worth noting that, learning/playing music engages more areas of the brain than almost any other activity (proven) and that music as a subject teaches students skills applicable in every other subject area as well.
This is not good enough. August 10, 2012 at 01:04 AM
Musical talent is not, as you say, "in your blod or it's not." If it were, I would not be a musician, since neither of my parents nor any of my grandparents knew how to play any musical instruments or read music at all. Musical aptitude is determined by many factors, one of which is exposure to music and musical concepts at a young age. Speaking strictly in terms of schools themselves, music and arts classes break up students' days. Instead of listening to lectures, taking notes, and reading textbooks, they are given minimal time each day (or a few times a week at the elementary level) to do something less structured and express themselves. Even if they are completely uninterested in any artistic subject (I have never, ever met anyone for whom this is the case, but IF) these classes give them a time to refocus. Additionally, music and art classes often serve as a much-needed plan period for teachers, especially at the elementary level.
Laurie Genardo August 10, 2012 at 03:25 AM
As a veteran educator with graduate and post-graduate degrees in learning and curriculum, I can tell you that numerous studies have been done that show that music education is tied to higher cognitive development. Those children who learn to read and play music show greater critical thinking abilities than their peers who do not. In addition, studies have shown that children who study music have higher verbal and mathematical capabilities--not to mention, the therapeutic benefits for special needs children. So essentially, music education should always be included in a child's educational plan. And sorry R.W. Voter, children should be given the opportunity to play music in school--many don't have "the luxuries" that other households do. Public education in the U.S. is not a "luxury" as it is in some countries; it is an expectation and a promise to our children to provide a good education to them regardless of their background. Remember R.W.: Your community is only as good as its school district. If we continue to devalue the importance of education in this community and continually cut programs because the "little darlings" don't need it, you will see Mokena's businesses and YOUR property value sink drastically. Start thinking beyond yourself.
Laurie Genardo August 10, 2012 at 03:28 AM
And BTW R.W.Voter: THIS teacher is very passionate about teaching and I take huge offense to your above comment. I have devoted my adult life to teaching children and bettering their education. And for the record, I graduated High Honors from the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign--not quite at the "bottom of college standings." Bitter much???
R.W.Voter August 10, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Those who can do, those who can't teach. Thank you
Laurie Genardo August 10, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Good CLICHE response R.W. Voter--you really put teachers in their place with that one.
C. Martinez August 10, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Parents and Community Members of Mokena, I urge you to come out to the next school board meeting WEDNESDAY AUGUST 15th 7:00PM MES BAND ROOM. There's a lot that has happened in the past few months with the school board and administration. I'm not sure if you're aware: board/administration resignations/changes, open board positions (voluntary and salaried), what the district administration salaries were last year and the proposed salary increases for this year (proposed salary increases range from 2% all the way up to 66.67%), issues with our anti-bullying policies and more. At the last school board meeting, the board reviewed a projected 12-13 budget that was over a million dollars OVER budget, which the board is in the process of reviewing more in-depth to get more accurate numbers. Please pass this information to your neighbors and friends and come out to the next board meeting. It's important that we show up and support the school board to make the right decisions that will benefit our kids, teachers and schools. If we are not proactive and involved, I fear bad decisions will be made that will negatively impact our community even more. It seems that the board started taking steps towards the right path and we need to encourage the board to stay on that path and not slide backwards. Let's come together as a community. We need accountability and responsibility in our board/administration. Let's urge them to do the right thing. Thank you.
R.W.Voter August 11, 2012 at 12:40 AM
But it is the truth
KC August 12, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Over budget? But Mr Markham has said repeatedly that he has balanced the budget and we're headed in the right direction.
R.W.Voter August 12, 2012 at 10:02 PM
The schools have submitted their budget, but it has not been approved. It is presently over 2 million in the red. That is unacceptable. Thank you
C. Martinez August 13, 2012 at 04:17 PM
SCHOOL BOARD MEETING - WEDNESDAY AUGUST 15TH 7:00PM - MES/BAND ROOM Meeting Agenda http://www.mokena159.org/Schoolboard/Agendas/2012/Agenda%20for%20august%2015%20%202012.pdf Information Report http://www.mokena159.org/Schoolboard/Packets/2012/August/15/back.pdf Budget Worksheet http://www.mokena159.org/Schoolboard/Packets/2012/August/15/Front.pdf If you are unable to click on above links, you can download them from the District's page here. http://www.mokena159.org/Schoolboard/Meetings.html ____________________________________________________________ PARENT / TEACHER ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEETING - TOPIC FOR REVIEW: UPDATING ANTI-BULLYING POLICY - THURSDAY AUGUST 16ST 7:00PM - MOKENA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL ROOM S126 Agenda http://www.mokena159.org/Schoolboard/Committees/ParentAdvisory/agenda/2012/Parent-advisory%20agenda08-16-12-v1%20(2).pdf If you are unable to click on above links, you can download them from the District's page here. http://www.mokena159.org/Schoolboard/Committees/ParentAdvisory/C_Parent.html Thanks.


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