McDermott named assistant principal

Tim McDermott

After remaining vacant for more than a year due to lower attendance during the pandemic, the Waterloo School Board filled the assistant principal position at Waterloo High School most recently held by Alan Guehne. 

The board unanimously OK’d giving WHS agriculture teacher Tim McDermott a two-year contract for that role at its meeting Monday night. 

“He’s been a teacher in this district for a long time, an ag teacher who has brought a lot of great publicity to our program,” Waterloo Superintendent Brian Charron said of McDermott. “He’s someone that our teachers, administration and our community has grown to love and respect over the years. We’re proud to recommend him for this advancement in his career.”

McDermott said he is looking forward to taking his success in the ag and FFA programs to the administration level. 

“I have enjoyed my teaching career and am extremely proud of the agriculture program and FFA chapter,” he said. “Developing leadership skills in students has always been an essential part of our agriculture program, and I want to help bring similar skills and experiences to all students and staff at WHS. I look forward to new challenges and opportunities as WHS assistant principal.”

Also at the meeting, the board approved updated guidelines for the WHS graduation ceremony taking place Sunday. 

Previously, it OK’d plans that would allow students to bring up to four guests. 

“Since then, starting last Friday, we entered the Bridge Phase that allows for 60 percent capacity,” Charron noted. 

After consulting with other schools, Waterloo decided to go the route of allowing students up to six tickets upon request. 

Charron said the Monroe County Health Department signed off on that plan, so students can pick up the two additional tickets if they want. 

“We’ve had several parents call concerned about the tickets,” WHS Principal Lori Costello noted. 

There was some discussion about how to handle the graduation crowds now that Illinois is in the Bridge Phase because fully vaccinated people do not count toward capacity limits in this phase. 

The board determined it would be impossible to use that as a factor when setting guidelines. 

“I don’t know how we’re going to ask those who are taking tickets to decipher between (vaccinated and unvaccinated people),” Costello said. 

“There will be 200 graduates there plus another 1,200 there with employees and family,” Charon added. “We’re talking about maybe 1,500 in that space. It will be tight.”

The WHS gym has a maximum capacity of approximately 3,000 people, but that can only be reached by using all the gym floor for seating, which is not the plan. That would also make social distancing impossible. 

Charron said the larger concern with too large of a crowd was people congregating in the hallways after the ceremony. 

“While everything feels a lot better, I worry about the aesthetics of having crammed bleachers,” he said. “We do not expect this being a big issue. I do want to respect those people who, for their own personal reasons, have not gotten vaccinated. I don’t want to do anything that increases the likelihood of spread at an event.”

Costello also noted there will be diploma pickup on Monday from 1-2 p.m. just like there was last year because that element of graduation received positive feedback. 

Another notable announcement is that Baxmeyer Construction plans to remove the old turf athletic field at WHS this week as part of the project to repair that facility after it was damaged by flooding last year. 

The district plans to give away strips of that field to anyone who wants it. The strips will be 4 feet long and the width of the field. 

The specific time and day will be announced, and there will be no delivery. 

Leftover strips will go to a landfill. 

“If anybody wants it, we prefer people come and get it,” Charron said. 

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James Moss

James is an alumni of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where he graduated summa cum laude with degrees in mass communications and applied communications studies. While in school, he interned at two newspapers and worked at a local grocery store to pay for his education. When not working for the Republic-Times, he enjoys watching movies, reading, playing video games and spending time with his friends.
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