This post was not written on behalf of my employer, ESU13. It is my attempt as an individual teacher to get the message out to as many people as possible about an administrator position that I anticipate will be open next year was just officially announced. My goal is to generate interest from around the country for this truly unique position and hopefully add some depth and diversity to the pool of educators who are sure to apply. I would be appreciative if you helped me by either re-posting the summary of this post or writing a short blurb on your blog linking back here. (I know this is insanely long, but it needed to be.) Please share the link in as many places as possible. Thank you in advance. Beth Still (Nebraska Change Agent)
I am sad to announce that the only principal I have ever worked for is retiring at the end of this year. Kirk Begley has been an educator for 33 years; seventeen of which he has been an administrator. Kirk is one of those principals that you dream of working with. He has very high standards and expectations for both his teachers and students. He is the perfect combination of everything that makes an administrator outstanding. He cares about people, he does not micromanage, and he leads by example. The person who is selected to fill his position will have some very big shoes to fill. While I am not looking forward to his retirement, I am excited for the person who ESU13 hires to fill this position.
If you are a rising star in the field of education looking for a place to shine, then you owe it to yourself to give some thought to this position. Have you dreamed about being the next Chris Lehmann? (If you read this Chris, please take that as the ultimate compliment.) What I mean is this is a fantastic opportunity for you to be a leader at a school that you can mold and shape into your vision of a perfect school. (As long as your vision aligns with that of ESU13, of course.)
This is not the typical, run-of-the-mill, high school principal position. In fact, it is one of the most unique opportunities in the entire country. ESU13 is located in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. One of the departments within ESU13 is Alternative Education. This department is divided into three branches:
- Valley Alternative Learning Transitioning School (VALTS)– An alternative school that serves somewhere in the neighborhood of 45 students who are simply square pegs in round holes. They are students who, for a variety of reasons, just don’t thrive in a traditional high school environment. Students attend class Monday through Thursday for a total of 12 hours per week in either the morning or afternoon. They are expected to work an average of 20 hours per week which count as elective credit. Friday’s are reserved for teacher planning and student make-up work. There are currently two classrooms in our building which Ben Wilkoff said is “one of the best facilities I ever experienced.” The staff consists of four teachers and a secretary.
- Panhandle Area Core Educational School (PACES)- This school provides educational opportunities for youth who are incarcerated. This school is housed on the juvenile side of the country jail. Don’t let this scare you away. My current administrator enjoys visiting with the students when he spends time there. Some of the kids are there for months at a time with no visitors. They need positive role models in their lives who are willing to take the time to talk to them about making the right decisions.
- Nebraska Educational Virtual Academy (NEVA)- This is an online school that provides virtual classes to most of the high schools within the ESU13 service area. The vast majority of the courses have been created and taught by the VALTS staff. This is a golden opportunity for someone who is visionary and not afraid to be on the leading edge of the curve.
The perfect candidate for this position, in my opinion, is someone who is calm, empathetic, and understands when it is the right time to give a student a second, third, and fourth chance, and when it is best to tell them it is time to move on. We are a very small staff and because of that we are close knit and think of each other as friends as well as colleagues. I would like to see the next principal be someone who is a natural leader and treats the teachers as equals. Our schools runs smoothly right now because that is the type of environment in which we currently operate. Relationships and communication are the cornerstones of the VALTS and PACES programs. The next principal must be someone who can relate to both students, staff, parents and the community. On a less serious note, it also helps if you like cake. We are on a quarterly schedule so every 9 weeks we have anywhere from 1 to 10 students graduate and we always have a small ceremony for students and guests.
I am tapping into my personal learning network because it is going to take someone very special to be the right fit for this job. My PLN is full of innovative and visionary educators who would be the ideal person to lead a new online school that is still very much in its infancy. The next principal will, in effect, be largely responsible for the direction of the online school. Is there anyone out there who fit this description that is willing to move to western Nebraska?
If you think you have to work 60 -70 hours a week as an administrator then think again. At my school, there are rarely issues that have to be dealt with outside of the normal hours of operation. There are no activities such as sports and dances. Discipline issues are few and far between. The most common reason students are sent to the office is for foul language. The four teachers are motivated and while they welcome constructive criticism, do not need much supervision. It really is a dream job for the right person. It is truly a unique position and I believe there are not too many people out there who will be a perfect fit for each aspect of this job. While it is not my job to help find this individual, I feel like I would be doing a huge disservice to my employer by not using my expansive network to help find our next principal.
Requirements to be certified as an administrator in Nebraska.
The following images are of the building where NEVA and VALTS are located. The purpose is to give you a feel of the physical environment of the school.