MFL MarMac posting for secondary assistant principal; considering administrative revamp

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

The MFL MarMac School District will post for a secondary assistant principal to fill an administrative hole that will be left at the end of the school year by the resignation of high school principal David Ross. The school board made the decision at a special meeting April 28, but chose not to define the role of the individual until going through applicants.

School board president Gina Roys introduced the idea of revamping the roles of the remaining administrators—elementary principal Kathy Koether and McGregor Center (4-8) principal Denise Mueller—making Koether the principal of grades K-5 and Mueller the principal of 6-12. A dean of students could then be added rather than a new high school principal.

“There are still three [administrators],” she stressed. “It’s just a matter of splitting up and defining duties.”

School board vice president Sharon Greener noted that hiring a high school principal would be the simplest solution short-term, but might not be best long-term. 

Board member Collin Stubbs agreed, asking, “Is that sustainable long-term with the trend we see in declining enrollment? I’d like to look at the long-term, not the short-term.”

Greener also questioned what has changed since last year, when the district hired Ross to replace Josh Mallicoat.

“Last year, we were not having this conversation,” she said.

“It’s crunch time now,” Roys said, explaining that hiring is taking place later this year, making a smaller pool of candidates from which to choose.

Principals have shared duties within the district before. Several years ago, Mallicoat was the principal of both the McGregor Center and high school, while an assistant principal at each building helped in his absence. 

Superintendent Dale Crozier said this time would be a different scenario. MFL MarMac also can’t compare itself to other districts, he said.

“We have to compare to us and where we are in our current reality,” he explained.

Crozier said he has a good relationship with both Koether and Mueller and felt they could handle revamped roles.

Mueller stated she would do it, but said some things would have to be worked out.

“I’ve never been a high school principal,” she said. “There’s no way I could handle all junior high and high school events; I can’t be everywhere physically. Then I worry who’s handling it in the other building. If you’re stretched too thin, sometimes you can’t give 100 percent.”

Koether said her schedule would also have to be planned out well. The elementary runs on a six-day cycle. Of those six days, there are two when guidance counselor Kurt Gaylor is not in the building, she mentioned.

“I have to be there those days,” she said, adding, “I prefer to be in the building every day face-to-face with staff and kids.”

“There are a lot of things you have to think about,” said Stubbs about the division of duties and grades.

As a result, the board felt it would be best to define those aspects as they went through the hiring process.

The board also agreed to post the position as an assistant principal rather than a dean of students, feeling the duties of an assistant principal were better defined and that the person could provide more leadership for staff and not just students.

“I’m more comfortable with assistant principal,” Greener said. “It gives more credibility to the faculty.”

The hiring committee this time around will be smaller than last year’s, but still maintain a diverse group of people, including not just the board but also a couple teachers and community members as well as a recent graduate.

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