VerSteeg resigns as school Maintenance Director

The Hancock School Board met on November 20 and had one resignation and two new hires on the agenda for approval. Scott VerSteeg, who has worked as the Director of Maintenance at the school for the last four years, submitted his letter of resignation. The board accepted his resignation with thanks and appreciation for his service to the district. His resignation will be effective as of December 8.

The two new hires were in the coaching department. Reece Bickford was approved as the junior high boys basketball coach. He is a University of Minnesota Morris student. Reece tried out for the basketball team in Morris and is very interested in coaching basketball.. Olivia Schlepner, who is a teacher at the school, was approved as the C-squad/junior high girls basketball coach. She will be coaching junior high players starting in January when the junior high girls schedule begins.

Principal Tim Pahl reported that other than the junior high girls basketball program, the winter sports practices are underway with the first games coming soon. However, before leaving the fall sports season behind he wanted to make some special recognition.

One of these was that both the football and volleyball teams were named State Team Academic Gold Award teams. The volleyball team had a GPA average of over 3.75 and the football team had an average GPA over 3.26. The football team was the fourth highest team in the state for all classes in football. Pahl stated that three of the four highest were in the 9 man class and the last one was in Class A.

In volleyball conference awards, Misti Zempel was named to the first team All-Little Eight Conference. Kaitlyn Staples and Eva Schaefer were named Academic All-State. Coach Lacee Biesterfeld was awarded the Jeff Groves Outstanding Assistant Coach Award. This award considers the importance and dedication of assistant volleyball coaches. Biesterfeld was nominated by head coach Ukestad.

In football Chase Evink, Levi Kellenberger and Hudson Ver Steeg were named All District. The District Defensive Lineman of the Year was Levi Kellenberger. All District Honorable Mention went to Rylan Meierding and Cruise Millette. All section honors went to Chase Evink, Hudson Ver Steeg, Cruise Millette and Nathan Kellenberger with honorable mention going to Titus Bjerketvedt. Bjerketvedt was named to the Academic All-State list.

Pahl also wanted to thank the Hancock Education Foundation for their continued support of, and donations to, the school. This fall they funded a mat for the sensory room, STEM presentation, trip to the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, the Mid Day Moments program, ice skating, Frisbee golf, and bowling for high school special education students, and the STEM enrichment materials for the kindergarten and second grade classes. The total cost for these was $4,838. 

Pahl and Superintendent Paul Carlson told the board members about a visit from Patty Hand, the Chief Operating Officer for the Minnesota Department of Education. The purpose of her visit was to get to know the team, listen to any concerns and ideas and to learn about all of the positive things that are happening in the district. She was given a tour of the school and was very impressed. One of the concerns they discussed with her was the difficulty in filling positions at the school. 

Another big accomplishment at the school was noted in the junior high knowledge bowl teams who took 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place at the first meet held in Fergus Falls on November 10.

Upcoming dates mentioned were the Winter Choir Concert on December 4. The kindergarten through sixth grade students will perform starting at 5:30 p.m. A lasagna supper will follow that performance and the 7-12 grade choirs will perform starting at 7:30 p.m. The one home wrestling meet in Hancock will be held on Thursday, December 14 when MAHACA takes on West Central Area. 

Several policies were reviewed by the board members with changes to coincide with changes handed down after the last legislative session. These policies included the Tobacco Free Environment policy, School District Curriculum policy and Student Transportation Safety policy.

The 2022-2023 audited revenue and expenditures and the current 2023-2024 budget publication is available for the public to see on the school website.