The Manhattan school district has filled what we have to assume are the last principals’ jobs it had to fill for a while.
It’s been quite a run: Five job openings for the positions in charge of schools — nearly half of the district’s 12 schools. If you count the person in charge of the ninth-grade center, it’s six out of 13.
A reasonable person might wonder: Is there something odd going on?
We don’t think so.
A principal’s job is very demanding. At the high school level, the gig requires 24/7 responsibility during the school year. Elementary school positions likewise carry a heavy burden of responsibility. So it’s not terribly surprising that there’s turnover, sooner or later. Principals also sometimes want to move up the ladder into administration.
That’s what’s happening here. Greg Hoyt, the principal at Manhattan High, retired in his mid-50s because he had hit the magic number in terms of the state retirement system, and because, well, he felt it was time to move on. Nothing wrong with that.
The person replacing him, Michael Dorst, was bumped up to that job from ninth-grade principal. Dorst was replaced by Ben Jimenez, who will move here from western Kansas, where he was an award-winning principal at a smaller school.
Meanwhile, the elementary principals who left also generally were moving up the job ladder: Becoming principals at bigger schools, becoming superintendents, becoming administrators. They are being replaced by qualified candidates from within or from other communities.
Those are all good signs. Good people want to work at our local school district.
In other words, what appeared to be a mass exodus of principals is really nothing more than random chance in terms of timing — and the byproduct of good people who have done good work getting good opportunities.
To those who have served here, we say: Thanks for all the effort on behalf of our kids. To those coming into these important positions in our education town, we say: Welcome. Thanks for coming. We’re lucky to have you. We look forward to working together.