Pine River-Backus School District: Shari Kamholz and Tom Demars nominated as Educators of Excellence

Board sees no policy violations in Christian Athlete group

prb school sign
Echo Journal file photo.

Pine River-Backus Elementary School Principal Rick Aulie and High School Principal Chris Halverson chose first grade teacher Shari Kamholz and high school math teacher Tom Demars for the annual Educators of Excellence recognition held by Sourcewell in Staples.

"Shari's had an excellent year in the classroom," Aulie told the PR-B School Board on Monday, April 19. "She perseveres. She's here from sunup to sundown and she has a heart of gold. We appreciate all of her work."

There will be a virtual ceremony Wednesday, April 28, to recognize area Educators of Excellence.

In other business Monday, board members:

  • Agreed they have no opposition to a student led, voluntary Fellowship of Christian Athletes group meeting at the school. Because the school is not funding it in any way, the board found no rules preventing the formation of any such group.
  • Issued a thank you to Julie Griffith for her many years working with the school. Griffith is resigning from her position as clerical staff as of Friday, April 23.
  • Hired Teresa Hamp as vocal music teacher.
  • Hired Gina Bauman as dean of students on a 185-day contract.
  • Hired Jacob Volk as junior high baseball coach, Conner Guetter as junior varsity softball coach, Leah Freeman as junior high softball coach, Mike Shetka and Andrew Rudlang as robotics coaches.
  • Approved leaves of absence for Gina Dabill and Rebecca Shackle and approved posting for a long-term substitute for Shackle.
  • Approved reduction of Lloyd Oney to half-time route bus driver; hired Tonya Demo and Marvin Plekkenpol as route bus drivers; and hired Kathryn Coffel as van driver.
  • Approved plans for a 2022 choir trip.
  • Approved the superintendent salary of $124,230 for the 2021-2022 contract year.
  • Adopted a resolution not to require makeup time for the March 11 school closing. The district is well above the minimum required days and hours of instruction time.
  • Adopted a resolution for payment of unused personal leave days to bus drivers for this year.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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