Written by Alexandra Wade
Randy Dohmen and Danette Rieper are filling new positions in the Teacher Leadership and Compensation program: learning supports and family engagement coordinators. Both were excited to see a position in the new system that looked like a perfect fit for them. Dohmen and Rieper are eager to figure out exactly how they can help teachers, parents and students in the district through their new positions.
As the first learning supports and family engagement coordinators for the WDMCS, Dohmen and Rieper are working to develop the position. They see it as a way to work with and connect the schools, families and the community. Their focus this year will be improving mental health to support student learning. Part of that is making sure teachers and families know about all the resources available to them.
“You really want to show the community the supports that are out there and get them connected with what they need,” Dohmen said. “It’s all about student success.”
Strong initiatives are already in place, so Dohmen and Rieper will be expanding those programs and services, while also working with individual families and teachers. One goal is to define their role and position in the Teacher Leadership and Compensation program and figure out how to articulate that so people know they are available to help.
“We want to support, educate and build upon the wonderful things we already have in the district,” Rieper said, “from the district level, school level and classroom level.”
Any families who have questions or concerns about their student’s success can contact Dohmen and Rieper by phone or email.
Randy has worked in special education for the past 10 years. His background has prepared him for his new position by connecting him with many different community resources and organizations.
“My first year as a special ed teacher, I got asked a lot of questions about services people needed, and I didn’t know the answers,” Dohmen said. “I researched it and figured a lot of it out.”
He started participating in programs such as Best Buddies, while still teaching special education classes. His favorite part of his leadership position is being present in every school in the district, instead of just one.
“I like getting to see the passion for education and getting to meet everyone in the district,” he said.
Danette has experience working at the pre-school and junior high levels, and as a training coordinator. She has also worked with the Youth Justice Initiative (YJI), mentoring at-risk youth and helping to get them back on track. Throughout her 20 years working with families to support success, she has found relationships to be the most important to her line of work.
”One of my passions, and one of the things I think I succeed in is developing relationships and getting to know the individual,” Rieper said. “And I think that’s going to be crucial in the development of the program.”
Her favorite part of her new position so far has been getting to see excitement about the new school year and the new program throughout the district.