On Thursday, ten Ottumwa High School students served on one of five interview teams that will help select the next principal. Students who participated include: Grace Bookin-Nosbisch, Ashley Fish, Connor Sutton, Spencer Barnes, Nayeli Juarez, Mitzy Solis Vazquez, Ashley Gruwell, Mariah Feeney, David Bossou, and Zach Kirkman.
“We are a good mix of the student population,” said Gruwell. Besides participating in a variety of the school clubs and activities, they all serve on student council.
The students had little problem coming up with a list of qualities they think are important for the next OHS principal to possess. These include encouraging a positive school culture, supporting a safe environment, and embracing diversity. “I want someone who shows up to most events,” said Feeney.
“I want someone who engages everyone, not just a specific group of students,” said SolisVazquez.
“I want someone who shows good spirit for school and community,” said Gruwell.
Being part of the process, “is an honor,” said Bookin-Nosbisch.
“We represent the student body,” said Feeney. “There is a difference between staff liking a candidate and students.”
Students had a score sheet with ratings between one and ten. “We took notes and then discussed afterwards and rated them as a group,” said Gruwell. “We collaborated.”
“We all felt the same way regarding each candidate,” said Sutton.
Principal Mark Hanson will retire in June. The students are sad to see him retire but feel fortunate to have had a principal like Hanson. Feeney shared that a friend who attends a Des Moines area school doesn’t even know her principal. While missing Hanson’s singing at events and his enthusiasm at pep assemblies, they are “excited to see what a new principal will bring,” said Juarez.
“Even as seniors, the new principal will have big shoes to fill,” said Gruwell. “I think it will be a good change.”
Overall, the group enjoyed the process. “I think it’s important to have the student perspective,” said Barnes.
“It was nice to be included in the decision-making process,” said Juarez. And free food and snacks all day were an added bonus.