• The Duneland School Corporation “Teacher of the Year” and “Employee of the Year.”

    Each year, the Duneland School Corporation will select a “Teacher of the Year” recipient for each of the following:

    • Primary (Elementary & Intermediate) Teacher Grades K-6
    • Secondary (Middle & High School) Teacher Grades 7-12

    The DSC also selects an “Employee of the Year” recipient for the classified staff.

    Students, former students, parents, colleagues, administrators, or members of the community may nominate a DSC teacher and/or classified employee. There is no limit to the number of teachers or classified employees a person may nominate. 

    A selection committee made up of DSC administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community members will narrow the nominations and interview the final nominees before selecting a winner for each category. Winners will be announced at a School Board meeting in May.

2020 Teacher & Employee of the Year


    The Duneland School Corporation is proud to announce the winners of the 2020 “Teacher of the Year” and “Employee of the Year” Recognition Program. The winners are:

    Elementary Teacher of the Year – Cris Petro of Liberty Intermediate School;

    Secondary Teacher of the Year – Robert DeRuntz of Chesterton High School; and

    Employee of the Year – Nicole Moloney, Secretary at Bailly Elementary School

    Students, former students, parents, colleagues, administrators, or members of the community were able to nominate a DSC teacher and/or classified employee for this recognition program earlier this year. A selection committee made up of DSC administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community members narrowed down the nominations and interviewed the final nominees before selecting a winner for each category.

    Finalists in each of the categories:

    Elementary Teacher of the Year - 

    Sue Calkusic of Jackson Elementary
    Joyce Goodwin of Liberty Elementary
    Betsy Kazmierczak of Brummitt Elementary
    Cathy Roles of Bailly Elementary 
    Becca Taylor of Yost Elementary
    Nicole Wilson of Westchester Intermediate

    Secondary Teacher of the Year 

    Suzanne Amling of Chesterton Middle School
    Vince Arizzi of Chesterton Middle School
    Erin Cochran of Chesterton High School
    Robyn McBride of Chesterton High School
    Holly Williams of Chesterton High School 

    Employee of the Year -

    Amanda Hicks, secretary at Chesterton Middle School
    Ardie McKernin, nurse at Liberty Elementary
    Faith Michael, media secretary at Westchester Intermediate
    Mary Beth Whitmer, secretary/receptionist at Chesterton High School 

    This year, due to social distancing, the winners were awarded at their homes or at their school by DSC administrators.

    Each of the winners received a $500 monetary award from the following local sponsors:

    McColly Real Estate (Paul Boyter) – Elementary Teacher of the Year
    1st Source Bank – Secondary Teacher of the Year
    Ellis Electric Inc. – Employee of the Year

    In addition, a plaque honoring the winners will be on display at the Duneland School Corporation Administration Center.

    Link to the announcement with winner and finalist photos: https://www.smore.com/duf6x


    Cris Petro


    Cris Petro, fifth grade teacher at Liberty Intermediate, has been teaching for the Duneland School Corporation (DSC) since 1996. She received her Bachelor's degree in science from St. Joseph's College in 1991 and her Master's in Education from Indiana Wesleyan in 2011.

     She began her DSC career at Bailly Elementary School as a fifth grade teacher for four years before moving to the fourth grade where she taught for 18 years. In 2018, Cris transitioned to Liberty Intermediate School to be a fifth grade teacher.

    As an educator, Cris has always been active in extracurricular clubs and activities with students. She is currently a robotics coach; Playwriting, Producing & Acting club sponsor; Camp Invention instructor; Special Education Resource Fair Committee member and Agency sponsor/volunteer; intramural volleyball assistant and Military Care Packages and Letters sponsor.

    Her accomplishments include: Runner Up for the June Scobee Rodgers National Innovative Educator Award; a four-time 5% Club Honored Educator; and International Student Media Festival Coach -- State Champs in 2004 & 2005 and Judges' Favorite at Internationals in 2005.


    Robert DeRuntz


    Robert DeRuntz, Chesterton High School Social Studies teacher, has been teaching for Duneland Schools since 1995.

    Bob studied European History and Law abroad in the Netherlands in 1992. In 1995, he received his Bachelor's degree in Education, History from Ball State University and a Master's degree in History in 2003 from Purdue University.

    His accomplishments include an Eli Lilly Teacher Creativity Fellowship in 2001 and 2014 and being selected as a 5% Club Honored Educator numerous times. For the past 20 years, Bob has traveled the U.S. with students in the Trail Bound program - a summer travel and learning experience for students to study our historic sites and hike our national parks.

    Since 2003, he has constructed a living history Civil War encampment at CHS, through which 500 US History students are annually 'drafted' into the Union army. The Civil War Camp includes tents, equipment, period clothing, weapons and food cooked for the students over an open fire. This has become a CHS tradition that everyone looks forward to each year.

    Bob has served as a member and a Building Representative of the Duneland Teachers Association for 25 years. For the past five years, he has served as the Chairman of Negotiations.


    Nicole Moloney


    Nicole Moloney has worked for Duneland Schools since 2010. She began her career at Duneland as a lunch and recess aide at Bailly Elementary School and in 2013 she transitioned to administrative assistant to the principal.

    Prior to coming to Duneland Schools, she was a medical office administrator for Associates in Neurology, PC in Valparaiso for six years.

    Nicole is a 1996 graduate of Chesterton High School.