Houghton Middle School principal retires

HOUGHTON – Retiring Houghton Middle School Principal Jim Luoma thanked staff and students at his final board meeting Monday.

Luoma is stepping down June 30 after a four-decade career with the district both as teacher and principal.

“I’m sincerely thankful to be part of this system and will cherish the numerous positive connections I’ve made with thousands – literally thousands – of students and parents,” he said. “I got emails from all over the world. It makes you cry.”

Luoma thanked the current administrators as well as those he had worked with in the past.

“I’ve been impressed by the boards here, that have been able to deal with so many different things that come across our plates,” he said. “Sometimes you go home scratching your head, going ‘What on earth am I doing?’ And it comes out that what you’re doing is you’re helping kids. That’s the bottom line, all the time here, is everybody that’s been here has been here for the kids. And that’s what it’s got to be about.”

Board President Nels Christopherson reminisced about a time when Luoma was a Little League coach protesting a bad call Christopherson made as umpire.

“It’s really been interesting for me to watch you as a teacher, and a coach, and an administrator all these years,” he said. “We all thank you so much for all that you’ve done.”

High School Principal Julie Filpus, who taught in the room next to Luoma’s for many years, remembered his enthusiastic lessons about the scientific method – so enthusiastic, she said, she had to close her classroom door at times.

“His enthusiasm for education has inspired me, and we will miss him next year,” she said.

In other action, the board:

approved hiring Anders Hill as new elementary school principal. Hill has been principal of Menominee High School, Menominee Junior High School and Menominee Alternative High School since 2011. Prior to that, he spent three years as principal of Central Elementary School in Menominee.

heard a presentation from Houghton Middle School student Morgan Colling, who was one of three winners of Johnson Controls’ Igniting Creative Energy Challenge, which promotes energy conservation. Colling was able to attend the 24th annual Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington D.C. last week. Colling also reported on anti-bullying wrist bands made by the school Builders Club.

set the first day of school as Sept. 4.

approved retaining the employee health insurance option of employees paying 20 percent and the district paying 80 percent.

approved a resolution to levy and collect 18 operating mills and 8.89 mills for debt retirement for debt retirement.

approved membership in the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

approved a variety of policy updates made to comply with changes in state and federal regulations.

approved amendments to the 2012-13 budget.