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West Elementary Principal Resigns, Position Filled

By Staff | Jun 9, 2011

In two early morning special meetings within a week, the Board of Education for Emmetsburg Community Schools accepted the resignation of a building principal and filled the opening with an existing administrator.

During a special board meeting held Friday morning, June 3, the board accepted the resignation of Matt Pugh, West Elementary School principal.

In his resignation letter, Pugh wrote: “My decision to resign was finalized after long and careful consideration of all factors. I regret leaving friends, the District, and mostly the kids. The students at West have given me great contentment over the years, and the administration team and staff has been great to work with.”

“I recommend that we accept Mr. Pugh’s resignation and move on,” said Superintendent John Joynt.

With no discussion, the board members unanimously approved the resignation. Pugh’s resignation is effective July 1.

With the principal position at the West Elementary now vacant, Superintendent John Joynt presented the board with four possible options to fill the vacancy: hire a full-time PK-4 principal; move Joe Carter to assistant principal, move Jay Jurrens to PK-12 principal, and hire a new 5-12 assistant principal; move Joe Carter to assistant principal, move John Joynt to PK-4 principal/superintendent, and hire a new 5-12 assistant principal; and move John Joynt to elementary principal/superintendent. The board was advised that a decision would need to be made at another special board meeting the following week.

In other staff-related business, the board accepted and approved High School Principal Jay Jurrens’s recommendation to offer the agriculture instructor position at the high school to Randy Nosvisch. Mr. Nosvisch was one of four interviewed out of eight candidates. He is a recent graduate of Iowa State University and is a native of New Hampton. Nosvisch is an Eagle Scout and student taught at South Hamilton.

On Wednesday, June 8, the board members met for a special meeting to fill the principal vacancy at West Elementary.

“I recommend making Joe Carter elementary principal, and that we advertise for a 5-12 assistant principal,” said Joynt. “Mr. Carter is a capable administrator and has been influential in bringing school reform to the middle school through Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). PLCs will also need to be implemented down at the elementary school.”

The West Elementary principal is responsible for 325 students, 21 full-time teachers, 15 associate teachers, two office staff, and 1.5 custodians. Carter would retain his duties as athletic director and coach for the district, as well.

“I think that will work just great, freeing Jay up a little bit to work on technology and getting us online with the one-to-one laptop program,” Board Member Don Hagen commented. “I really like the idea.”

The school district would need to advertise for a 5-12 assistant principal. That individual’s responsibilities would include dean of students and routine principal duties. As a result of hiring an assistant principal, High School Principal Jay Jurrens would be allowed more time to focus on technology integration throughout the district.

The 5-12 assistant principal’s salary would be $62,000 and would be funded through Drop Out Prevention money and from the general fund.

“So, Joe, what are your thoughts on doing this?” asked Laure Egland, member of the board.

“I really like the idea,” Carter answered. “It’s an opportunity professionally and I’m excited about the challenges at West Elementary. It’s something I would enjoy.”

With no further discussion, the board unanimously approved the recommendation to move Joe Carter from Dean of Students to elementary principal and to advertise for a 5-12 assistant principal.

In other staff-related business, the board considered Jay Jurrens’s recommendation to hire Trent Griggs as the high school counselor. Mr. Griggs is originally from Marengo and has a master’s degree from the University of Northern Iowa. He has worked as an admissions counselor at Central College. He was selected from a field of ten applicants, four of which were interviewed.

“He will be considered a first year person,” explained Jay Jurrens. “He is very much a go-getter and an outgoing person. I think he will be someone that the students relate to very well. He is younger than those we’ve traditionally had before as a counselor and I don’t think that’s a bad thing.”

“So, we picked someone who has absolutely no experience as a high school counselor because he was the best candidate or he was the cheapest?” asked Tammy Naig, board member.

“Because he was absolutely the best candidate,” Jurrens replied. “As far as candidates with experience, we only had two. One was an elementary counselor and the other was a K-12 counselor at a much smaller district.”

The board also approved hiring Jake Hutchison as summer help. Hutchison will be working 20 to 40 hours per week, emptying classrooms, stripping and waxing floors, painting, and mowing. He will earn $8.75 per hour.