By Celine Klosterman
DEWITT — Lola Blaser has been named interim principal at St. Joseph Catholic School as the school’s former principal, Christine Meyer, accepted a job as 7-12 interim principal/curriculum director for the Calamus Wheatland School District.
Blaser, who most recently instructed sixth, seventh and eighth-grade math and religion as lead teacher at St. Joseph, has worked there since 1993. The school will continue seeking a permanent principal and will seek an interim teacher to fill Blaser’s teaching position, said Steve Frett, president of St. Joseph’s Board of Education.
Meyer began work Aug. 15 in her hometown of Wheatland, where she graduated from Wheatland High School in 1968. “I’m excited to be back,” she said.
Her great-grandparents, maternal grandparents, parents and son graduated from Wheatland schools, and her brother is a custodian at Calamus Wheatland High School, she said. She taught elementary grades in Wheatland from 1987-1995, then instructed junior high students there from 1995 to 2005. In 2001, she earned an administrative degree. After a year of teaching reading at Maquoketa Middle School, she became principal of St. Joseph Catholic School in 2006.
Leaving St. Joseph is bittersweet, Meyer said last week, during her final week at the school. “This experience here has been the best thing that’s happened to me.” The school community was very supportive during challenging personal times, she said. “This is more than just a job; it’s a lifestyle.”
She considers one of her largest accomplishments the creation of a St. Joseph grant-writing group that has secured funding for technology, playground equipment, lunchroom tables, classroom supplies and more. St. Joseph also began a preschool program under her leadership in 2008.
In a statement, St. Joseph’s Board of Education thanked Meyer for her time, sacrifices and insight. She helped bring new books, desks, Mimio interactive whiteboards and laptop computers to classrooms, and was instrumental in starting the computer and technology lab. New playground equipment will be installed as St. Joseph begins school Aug. 18, and the school received a new roof, updated windows and siding, and new gym bleachers during Meyer’s tenure, the board of education said.
The board wished her the best, saying she left a solid foundation for the school.
Meyer plans to move from DeWitt to Lowden, a town about six miles southwest of St. James Church in Toronto. Two St. James families, including hers, have ancestors who founded that parish, she said.
St. Joseph School has about 220 students in prekindergarten to eighth grade. Calamus Wheatland High School has approximately 260 students.