Dave Holloway answers questions during an open forum Tuesday at the Manhattan High School West Campus library. Holloway is a candidate for the MHS principal position and answered community questions at the end of his interview day as all five candidates are scheduled to do.

Dave Holloway made his case Tuesday for why he should move up from Manhattan High School assistant principal to head principal next year.

Holloway, 51, was the second of five candidates interviewing for the job this week. All candidates will interview with the district administrators and end the day with a forum with community members in the MHS West Campus library.

Holloway, who has worked in education for 28 years, has been with the district for 13 years. He served as an assistant principal for five years at the West Campus before moving to the East Campus to serve as the ninth-grade assistant principal for the last eight years.

He started his career as a physical education teacher in Morland, Kansas, before becoming principal of Hill City High School. He said it was a shock when he first arrived at a 6A school after spending time at the 2A school.

“I remember one day, standing there and looking out and thinking, ‘It’s me and these 800-plus kids. I hope nothing goes wrong,’” Holloway said to the nearly two dozen members of the crowd.

He said there are things he misses sometimes about the small school and town, and the experiences he had there were invaluable.

“I was the guy,” he said. “There was no athletic director, I was. There was no special education person, I did it all.”

Holloway said one of his concerns about moving up to the new position would be not getting to keep up with the kids in his buildings. He said he spends a lot of time throughout the year trying to learn faces and names of the kids in the ninth-grade center. However, he also sees this experience as a bit of an advantage.

“I know three classes already, because I learned their names as freshmen,” he said. “I would just have to learn the 400 or so names of the kids from the middle schools.”

When asked about his goals for the new job, he jokingly said taking a picture in front of the building for his Instagram. More seriously, Holloway said he wanted to spend time getting to know staff members and learning about their goals and needs.

“I want to establish that bond starting day one,” he said.

Holloway also said he wants to continue to emphasize the importance for some students to consider the technical trades, as well as other students earning certificates and taking concurrent enrollment classes to get most of their general education classes out of the way and work toward an associate degree.

He said he is concerned about the problems that can occur during the upcoming bond-related construction, like losing classroom spaces and making teachers move from classroom to classroom.

“It scares me to death,” he said. “But I think it’ll be nice to have everybody under one roof. I think it’ll help the ninth-graders feel like part of the school.”

While he thinks the ninth-graders will be fine, he said he’s open to the idea of starting something to help them feel less lost on their first day at the West Campus, like having them start a day earlier and orientation activities.