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Our Team

Kara Kowalk

Kara Kowalk

Principal

Kara Kowalk is the Principal at Union Elementary School. In 2019, Kara joined Lakota Local Schools as the Assistant Principal at Union. She served in this role until 2021, when she became Principal. Kara is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and taught in Lexington, KY, and Fort Thomas, KY, prior to coming to Lakota. She taught 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grade during her 9-year career as a classroom teacher.

Kara believes in the power of building strong relationships and connections with the entire school community – families, students, staff members, and community members. Kara is dedicated to serving the Union family and believes that each new day brings the opportunity to learn, grow, lead, and inspire.


For any questions, comments, concerns, or new ideas on ways to keep moving our Union family forward, please contact Kara at kara.kowalk@lakotaonline.com or on her cell phone at (270) 321-0666.

Jacob White

Jacob White

Assistant Principal

Jake White is the new proud Assistant Principal of Union Elementary. Prior to joining the Union family, Jake spent four years as a building administrator in the Middletown and Edgewood City School districts. In his career as a teacher, Jake taught 7th grade math and 4th grade math and science. Jake earned his bachelor's degree from Miami University and master's degree from Indiana Wesleyan University. 

 Jake is passionate about creating a positive environment where all students are cared for and inspired. He is excited to join the team to serve Union Elementary School’s students, staff, families, and community members. 

 Go Hawks!

Amy Burns

Guidance

Amy Burns has been a counselor for 19 years. Prior to that, she spent 5 years in the classroom as a 5th and 6th grade language arts and social studies teacher. As the school counselor, Amy works with students, teachers and parents to ensure that each child is reaching their full potential.  


The elementary school years are a crucial time in the development of each student's character and self image. Through small groups and individual counseling, Amy works with students to achieve continuous growth and development of their character. Amy is also continuously working with the teaching staff and parents to collaborate on student's needs.

Mila Dobnicker

Innovation Specialist

Mila Dobnicker has served as the Innovation Specialist at Union since August 2021. Prior to that, she spent 19 years in the classroom as a 4th grade math and science teacher. Mila provides teachers with professional development and coaching related to Lakota’s initiatives on innovation and personalized learning. Mila also supports curriculum and instructional design and delivery, and the evolution of spaces such as the Innovation Hub to transform the learning experience for students.  
 
Mila collaborates regularly with other Lakota Innovation Specialists and with curriculum and technology departments to impact the K-12 learning experience for students.

Kelly Harp

Nurse

Kelly Harp has been the nurse at Union since 2015. From medications to daily illnesses, Kelly runs the Union clinic and takes care of student needs each day. If your child has any allergies, dietary restrictions, or medication needs, please contact her.

Vickie Hughes

Office Manager

Vickie Hughes has served the Union Community since 1999.  As the Office Manager, she ensures the building office runs smoothly and efficiently in the daily operation. She coordinates and facilitates the flow of communications from the school to the parents, students, and staff. Vickie also takes care of the building facility usage, maintains the school calendar, and other student- and parent-related items.


 

Jay Kaznowski

SRO

Officer Jay Kaznowski is the School Resource Officer for Union Elementary. Officer Jay is first and foremost responsible for the safety and security of the students and staff at Union Elementary. He also investigates any criminal activity occurring at the school and works closely with the school administration during these incidents to determine the best course of action. He is not responsible for any type of school-related discipline. This is his full-time position and he is at the school each day that the school is in session.

Officer Jay also enjoys the opportunity to connect and talk with the students, primarily during lunch and recess.

Debra Roberts

Teacher, Gifted Intervention Specialist

Debbie has been teaching since 1995 and has been with Lakota 22 of those years. Before Lakota, she taught in Cedarville, Ohio and Plano, Texas.  She has taught 3rd, 4th and 5th grades before becoming a Gifted Intervention Specialist in 2013.  
Debbie is pictured here with her husband Aaron, and children Ben (17) and Elliana (14). While not at school, you can find Debbie spending time with her family, helping out at church, exercising, savoring a cup of coffee, shopping, planning a trip and traveling.
 

Melissa Staples

Office Secretary

Melissa is the Office Secretary at Union Elementary. As the Office Secretary, Melissa takes care of attendance, scheduling, report cards, student entry and withdrawals, among other student-related items.