Bergman Principal Interviews

Chris Delforge speaks with the teachers of Bergman Elementary School on Wednesday as a part of the interview process for the head principal job. Delforge is the current assistant principal at Bergman.

The internal candidate for the Bergman Elementary principal position said Wednesday he has some ideas on how to make the school better, but wouldn’t jump right into implementing.

Chris Delforge, current assistant vice principal at Bergman, answered questions during a forum with teachers and parents at the school. He is one of three candidates interviewing for the position. Current principal Lori Martin announced her retirement at the end of the school year.

Delforge said he has a diverse experience that would help him. He has taught social studies and STEM classes, as well as first, sixth, seventh and eighth grades. He also previously worked at Riley County High School as an assistant principal.

As the head principal, he said he’d want the kids to see him more, and he’d want to stop by for classroom visits more often.

“They’d see me more, but to them, I’d still be Mr. Delforge,” he said.

One of the things he wants to focus on whether he gets the promotion or not would be the lunchroom. Several teachers commented on the problem with volume and behavior in the lunchroom, and he said he’d want to sit down with classes and make sure they understand what behavior is expected.

“Next year, we could try assigned seating Monday through Thursday and open seating Friday,” Delforge said. “That way, lunch staff could learn the names.”

He said sitting with the students and asking for their input could help.

“If they have buy-in to the rules, they may be more productive,” he said.

Delforge said other priorities would be to talk to the district administrators about getting more paraeducators who speak languages like Spanish to help students who don’t primarily speak English.

His goal for the building would be improving the school’s overall math scores. He also wants individual teachers to make personal, professional and classroom goals.

“You have to have visible goals in the classrooms,” he said. “Increasing by 1% is better than nothing, and if there’s no mindset of achieving the goals, there’s no goal reached.”

He said he’ll measure his success if he gets the job by the teachers and the students not being afraid to tell him what’s happening.

Delforge also said he wants to communicate with parents on what they believe is best for the students.

“I love parent input,” he said. “When kids go home, they tell mom and dad what happened, then I hear it from parents.”

He said he’d consider parent input in regards to classroom requests, but would sit with the parents, go over what would be best for the child and then decide.

Delforge was the final candidate for the position. Steve Koch, principal Lincoln Elementary School in Lincoln, Kansas, and Heather Calvert, who most recently was principal at Indian Hills Elementary School in Topeka, also interviewed.

A fourth candidate, Laurie Harwood, withdrew her candidacy.