Jul 282010


By Celine Klosterman

Keokuk Catholic School has added an assistant principal to its administrative staff.

Longtime educator Sharon Kokemuller began work earlier this month for the school, after retiring last year from a decade of serving as principal of Hawthorne Elementary in Keokuk.

“After a year of retirement, I decided I missed working with the students and staff and my relationships with the families,” she said. She had taught for more than 20 years, including four years she spent offering reading instruction part-time at the former St. Vincent School in Keokuk in the 1980s.

Kokemuller decided to respond to an ad for an elementary teaching position at Keokuk Catholic School. But before she did, Principal Laurie Mendenhall called to invite her to assist in administration. The two women had become friends when Mendenhall worked out of Hawthorne as director of Kid Zone, a before-and-after-school program.

“Sharon has a lot of expertise I’m glad to have access to,” Mendenhall said. “She’s very experienced, very smart and highly respected in the Keokuk School District.”

Kokemuller said she’s “delighted to be getting back to work in education, and to have the opportunity to work with Laurie in an administrative capacity.”

Each woman is working part-time at the school, which had 71 students in kindergarten to eighth grade in spring 2010. This year, the school will educate students up to fifth grade.

Kokemuller received a master’s degree in elementary educational administration from Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo., and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa. After graduating from the latter school, she worked as a secretary and librarian at Regina Catholic Education Center in Iowa City.

She and her husband, Roger, have two daughters, two sons and five grandchildren.

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