MHS staff members receive excellence awards

MENDOTA – The Mendota High School District 280 Board of Education handled numerous items of business during its regular monthly meeting on April 19.


  • Principal Denise Aughenbaugh commended four staff members for being 2021-22 Regional Office of Education Excellence award recipients. Certified staff member recipients are Paula Baker (band), Kristi Barajas (special education) and Keegan Hill (special education). Support staff recipient is Patti Blumhorst (principal’s office). They will be honored at the Excellence in Education banquet in May.
  • Money budgeted through Title 1 will allow the school to offer remedial summer school classes. Math, English and Science will be offered and the credit retrieval will be limited to 100 slots. The board hired the following employees to work/teach summer school: driver’s education – Robert Nunn, Heath Raley, Aaron Sester, Brock Zinke; credit retrieval – Mel Sallee, Cody Zinke; paraprofessional support – Marisela Cervantes; summer school administrator – Brock Zinke. Driver’s education will have approximately 75 students. Aughenbaugh also noted that IVCC will offer multiple sections of summer speech at MHS in June.
  • The board approved membership renewal with the Illinois High School Association. Membership entitles MHS to participate in post-season state series tournaments.
  • The PSAT 9 and PSAT 10 assessments were administered on April 26. The last week of April will also have the online Illinois Science Assessment administered to juniors.
  • New Spanish textbooks and online curriculum was put on display for 30 days of public review.
  • The Athletic Committee met in early April, and per its recommendations, the following coaches were hired: Nick Ganz, varsity boys’ basketball assistant; Evan Carroll, sophomore boys’ basketball; Drake O’Donnell, freshman boys’ basketball; Joe Hughes, head girls’ track; Ali Eddy, cheerleading. Also, the Fall athletic budget was approved.
  • The Fine Arts Walt Disney World and Universal Studios trip itinerary and contract from Entourage Management, LLC and MHS was reviewed and approved. Aughenbaugh noted that the Fine Arts Department has restructured to take one big trip every four years. This format is different from both the band and choir traveling separately every year. She said students have the opportunity to fund-raise to offset the expense, and local clubs and the Music Boosters also help to support students on these trips.
  • Per Aughenbaugh’s recommendation, the board approved the Mendota Rotary Interact Club as an MHS school-sanctioned club. Currently, the group has 32 students. The volunteer sponsor is Alisa Stewart.

The group’s projects this year include gardening for granny, soctober clothing drive, cards for Heritage residents, food drive for Mendota Food Pantry, tree-plenish, Christmas cards for staff, Valentine’s for staff and ditch clean-up on Route 34.

  • Upcoming events include: Awards and Scholarship Assembly-May 3; Staff and Teacher Appreciation Week-May 2-6; Prom-May 7. Prom grand march and coronation will be at 5:30 p.m. in the gym, with dinner and dance to follow at the Mendota Civic Center.




During Superintendent Jeff Prusator’s report, consideration and approval was granted for the renewal of the intergovernmental agreement with the city of Mendota and the school resource officer (Chad Hochstatter) for the 2022-23 school year.

The board authorized Prusator to hire two student summer custodians and to let bus bids.

Enrollment projects were given for the next nine years. The MHS enrollment is currently 507. Enrollment would dip below 500 over the next two years, go slightly above 500 for three years and then go back under 500 for four years. Since the 1989-90 school year, MHS’s enrollment high was 689 in 1994-95.



The board handled the following personnel items:

  • Accepted the resignation of Heath Raley as CTE teacher, COE advisor, CTE department chair, driver’s education department chair, head girls’ track coach.
  • Renewed the contract of Dave Boylan, school psychologist.
  • Renewed the contract of Kate Hagenbuch, school speech-language pathologist.
  • Hired James Younger as choir teacher, choir director and assistant band teacher for 2022-23 school year.
  • Accepted the retirement notice of Nancy Roulston from the kitchen-cafeteria.
  • Hired Kyle Lopez as CTE teacher and COE advisor.
  • Approved maternity leave for Paula Baker in the fall 2022.
  • Approved and hired Matt Meyer as CTE department chair.
  • Approved and hired Brock Zinke as driver’s education department chair.

The next regular meeting of the District 280 Board will be Monday, May 16 at 6 p.m.


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