OSCODA – The Oscoda Area Schools (OAS) Board of Trustees voted to hire Michael Buchinger to replace Lauryn Springsteen as the Oscoda High School (OHS) Assistant Principal at the Monday meeting.

Buchinger hails from Alpena and received his bachelor of science from Northern Michigan University (NMU) in cognitive impairment and social studies in 2008. He also has a secondary Michigan K-12 special education CI endorsement and 6th-12th grade social studies endorsement. Additionally, he has a professional teaching certificate in special education CI K-12 and social studies 6th-12th.

Since then, he’s worked in the Kodiak Island Borough School District in Alaska as a K-12 special education teacher, 3rd-5th grade intermediate special education teacher and K-12 itinerant special education teacher. He went on to teach at Roger City Area Schools as a K-5 special education teacher from 2014-2016.

In 2015-2018 he returned to NMU and received his master of arts in education and educational leadership. He also received a Michigan school administrator and full approval as teacher consultant in Michigan. He went on to serve as a junior high special education teacher at Alpena Public Schools in Jan. 2016 and began serving as the lead special education teacher in 2018 until now.

A motion to approve Buchinger was made by Trustee Rose Fulton and was seconded by Trustee Bill Gaines receiving a 7-0 vote.

Additionally, the board discussed five hires and four resignations including coaches, bus drivers, teachers and dietary staff.  The five new hires include middle school football coach Elias Gutierrez, 8th grade girls basketball coach Mark Toppi, part time custodian and full time bus driver Bryan Johnson, part time dietary staff Lydia Wilson and OHS paraprofessional Jennie Lechel.

Gutierrez is a Oscoda resident who has experience as a assistant football coach, boys basketball coach and U10 soccer coach. Gutierrez also played football from elementary to high school and was offered a football scholarship during senior year to play football in college. A motion to approve the hiring of Gutierrez was made by Vice President Don Ellis and was seconded by Treasurer Tim Kellstrom  receiving a 6-1 vote with Fulton dissenting.

In addition to the hires, there were also four resignations submitted from bus driver Keith Hussar, bus driver Jessica Holley, Richardson Elementary School (RES) 6th grade math teacher Emily Spaulding and RES 2nd grade teacher Sarah Halash.

In a letter addressed to OAS, Hussar said due to medical conditions that have not improved over the summer, he is unable to continue working as a full time bus driver. He also said he has been prescribed medications that contradict operating heavy machinery.

“I appreciate the opportunity that was afforded to me knowing that I had medical issues that may be problematic,” he said in his letter.

Further he appreciates the accommodations of Transportation Director Tina Ruedisueli provided him through his time as a driver.

Additionally, Holley resigned as well. She said she will not be driving the bus anymore, but can serve as a substitute whenever needed.

Finally, Spaulding and Halash provided the board with letters of resignation. Spaulding served RES as a 6th grade math teacher for the last three years. She has decided to take a position in the Frankenmuth School District located in her hometown.

“I have truly enjoyed my time at Oscoda Area Schools and will look back fondly at the three years that I was given the opportunity to teach in this wonderful school district,” her letter read. “I cannot thank the administration and my coworkers enough for the advice and mentoring these past few years. It has been a privilege to work at Oscoda Area Schools.”

The final resignation was received from Halash who said that she’d like her resignation to be effective on Friday, Aug. 16. She said she accepted a position that is closer to her family.

“I am beyond honored to have worked with amazing staff and students at Richardson Elementary over the past three years. This community has given me an amazing start to my teaching career,” her letter read.


Other business included

• Approval to have the bus garage wrecker repaired.  A motion was made by Gaines and was seconded by Trustee Dan Schlink receiving a 7-0 vote.

• Approval of the problem solving learning room coordinator contract. A motion was made by Schlink and was seconded by Gaines receiving a 7-0 vote.

• Approval to purchase a kitchen steamer. Superintendent Scott Moore said the current kitchen steamer is not in functioning order. A motion was made by Ellis and was seconded by Secretary Mary Reitler receiving a 6-1 vote with Kellstrom dissenting.