08/15/12 There will be new administrators in many of the Plymouth School buildings this year, but all of them will be familiar faces.

The Principal Washington Discovery Academy (formerly Washington Elementary)will be Andrew Hartley. Hartley was an Assistant Principal at Plymouth High School. Lincoln Junior High’s new principal is Reid Gault. Gault had been an Assistant Principal at the school for several years. Taking Gaul’s place as Assistant Principal is Craig Hopple. Although Hopple had been serving as an Assistant Principal in the Culver Schools , he has been a volunteer sports coach in Plymouth as well.

As Donna Burroughs retired from the Plymouth Schools and accepted a position as Superintendent of Triton Schools, Her vacated seat as Principal at Riverside Intermediate has been filled by former Assistant Principal Jeni Hirschy. Steve Boyer, former English teacher at LJH, will now be the Assistant Principal.

Kyle Coffman has now taken on the challenge of being the Assistant Principal at Plymouth High School after teaching English at the school. Ken Olson , former PHS Assistant Principal, has been named Director of the School of Inquiry that is housed in the PHS building.

Principals  returning to their respective schools include Michael Dunn at Menominee Elementary, Angie Mills and Jefferson Elementary , Carrie McGuire at Webster Elementary and Jim Condon at Plymouth High School.

Superintendent Daniel Tyree said, “Today’s principalship requires all of the old management skills along with the skills of being an educational leader. Today’s administrators have to understand and be able to work with curriculum, instruction, and assessment. As we looked for quality candidates, teachers, assistant principals, and principals already in the Plymouth system rose to the top of each pool.” Tyree added, “We knew that if we didn’t hire them, somebody else would hire them. I’m very satisfied we have quality candidates within our own walls.”


Two of those moving into new positions shared their desire to stay in the Plymouth Schools.

Kyle Coffman moved from his first teaching position in the Plymouth High School English Department to the PHS administration offices only a month ago. Coffman has been appointed as Assistant Principal. Coffman first came to the Plymouth Schools at the start of the 2007-2008 school year and began taking courses to obtain a principal’s certification that same year. Coffman explained that he felt working towards becoming a principal could expand his influence. He said, “I have always wanted to help the most people that I can.”

When the opportunity came to serve as an administrator in the same school, he knew it would be a good move. Coffman said, “The teachers and counselors all put students first.” Coffman said he was also pleased to have completed his practicum work in the Plymouth system. He said all three of the administrators that he worked under helped him in different areas of importance. He said Angie Mills (former assistant principal at Lincoln Junior High) showed him discipline techniques; Dan Funston (former principal at LJH) helped him understand how to make positive changes in the classrooms; and Michael Dunn (principal of Menominee Elementary) made an impact on his learning how a principal in a given building is the spokesperson for the school and all of the stakeholders.

Coffman’s duties include, but are not limited to, keeping the master schedule for PHS, performing teacher evaluations, overseeing textbook adoptions, and monitoring and implementing safety policies and procedures.

Coffman’s wife Jennifer holds a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs and is currently working as a Deputy Finance Director for a political campaign.


Former Washington Elementary Principal Michele Riise accepted a position as the Director of Quality Programs following the end of the 2011-2012 school year. Riise is beginning her ninth year with the Plymouth Schools. Along with serving as the Director of Special Education, she will be overseeing the elementary school’s curriculum as well as monitoring the grants for Title I, ENL, Migrant, and High Ability programs. She will be administrating both federal and state funded grants.

Riise said, “My goal is to be out and about in all of the buildings in the Plymouth Schools.” She said, “I know what is going on in the classrooms ultimately affects grants.”

She said, “I don’t mind a challenge. This gives me a new outlook and perspective in how the corporation runs.”

She has completed the requirements for both a Superintendent’s License and for an Exceptional Needs License.

Prior to coming to the Plymouth Schools, Riise had experience in grant writing with the Pulaski Schools. She also brought with her a wide background in DIBBLES testing that continues to be used in the Plymouth system. A DIBBLE testing is one of the means to help ensure that students are perfecting reading.

Riise has spent much of the last two years formulating plans for the Washington Discovery Academy. The Discovery Academy a project-based pilot program and will be held in the Washington School. Riise, who spent eight years as principal of Washington, said, “I’m going to miss the kids and I had become very attached to the staff.”

Riise attributes her ability to take on the new position and the time it will take to the understanding of her husband and daughters. She said, “I couldn’t do this without the support from my husband and family.” Her husband Erick has been teaching History and Psychology for the pest 23 years at Pioneer Regional School Corporation. Their two daughters attend Plymouth Schools.

Carol Anders, Correspondent