Kelly Kall

Replacing Diller: Q&A with the Candidates for KW Principal

Brad+Diller+speaks+at+the+KW+graduation+for+the+Class+of+2015.++Diller+is+known+for+naming+each+senior+individually+in+his+speech.
Brad Diller speaks at the KW graduation for the Class of 2015.  Diller is known for naming each senior individually in his speech.

Brad Diller speaks at the KW graduation for the Class of 2015. Diller is known for naming each senior individually in his speech.

Brad Diller speaks at the KW graduation for the Class of 2015. Diller is known for naming each senior individually in his speech.

Hank Hoversland and Hadley Lloyd, Head Editor and Assistant Editor

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Following the 2017-2018 school year, principal Brad Diller will be retiring (read more at  https://kellykall.com/1425/news/diller-announces-his-retirement/). With an expansive career within Natrona County and a 23-year legacy leading the Trojans, Diller has left a lasting impact on the students, teachers, and community of Kelly Walsh. His approaching absence brings about a challenge: selecting the right person to replace him.

On January 29th, the Natrona County School District announced its final five candidates for the position. They are as follows: Mike Britt, Christopher Dresang, Mark Fritz, Gibson Ostheimer, and Amy Rose (a brief synopsis of their careers is available at http://natronaschools.org/parent-news-january-27-2018/).

Candidates have already been thoroughly evaluated by a variety of committees. Interview teams consisting of Kelly Walsh students, teachers, and other staff met with the candidates to ask their own questions under the observation of Superintendent Steve Hopkins and other prominent district officials last week. The results of these meeting are kept confidential.

In a public forum held at the Kelly Walsh Auditorium on February 1, candidates answered questions submitted by the community (watch it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ocmwf-Pf9Qs).

This elaborate process is all to ensure that superintendent is fully-informed prior to announcing his recommendation to the school board.

Although the window for comment submissions has closed, The Kelly Kall reminds you that one of these candidates will be the new principal. Therefore, students of Kelly Walsh and their parents are encouraged to research all those in the running. Find below the transcripts of brief interviews conducted by members of Kelly Walsh Publications with each candidate.

Note from the Editor: I encourage all of you to read through the complete transcript and to give each and every candidate a fair chance and a full read. It is important for everyone to see the candidates through an objective lens, and not to import biases into their judgement of the candidates. This decision will affect the lives and futures of so many students and staff within the Natrona County School District. This choice will have many implications, so inform yourself. I also urge you to watch the full video of the community forum, found at the link above. Though both the video and the interviews may be lengthy, they are very informative. After doing your due diligence, please voice your opinion by commenting on this story below.

 

MIKE BRITT  (Current Principal at Centennial Middle School)

Kelly Kall: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Mike Britt: I’m the current Centennial principal, of course. When it relates to Kelly Walsh, what I think would be most important for the students to know is that I’m a Kelly Walsh Trojan, a ‘91 graduate of this school. And, I mean, before that, if we really want to go back, I was also a Manor Heights Jaguar and I was an original Centennial Junior High Eagle when it first opened up. So, my roots, not only just to our community, but to that structure of schools coming through and Kelly Walsh is really important to me. I’ve got a wife. I’ve got three awesome boys that are in Laramie working and going to school. And then, two daughters, one’s here and one’s at Centennial. And so I find myself at a lot of events anyway, so hey, why not apply for the Kelly Walsh principal job and be here a little bit longer everyday? So, that’s a little bit about me.

Kelly Kall: Could you address the transition that would be required of you to go from middle school to high school?

Mike Britt: Absolutely. The same concern happened earlier. I’d never taught one middle-level class before I was the middle-level principal at Centennial. I was an elementary teacher. But what I’d tell them is this: I feel like we did really great things when we developed an excelling school in a elementary school and I never taught one kindergartener how to read myself. I never taught a third grader the science standards. But what I know how to do is help teachers reach kids and get them to learn. And so, that transition to junior high wasn’t a big deal because we’re still doing the same thing. When it comes to high school kids, it is still the same thing. I want to engage kids with their teachers, in their classes so they love coming to school. And that they want to be successful in whatever path that they take.

Kelly Kall: Addressing the teachers and students, why would you be the best fit for the position?

Mike Britt: Oh, wow. You know when you ask it, you go, “There are a hundred million reasons why I think I’m the best person.” But, I think most importantly, it’s more about this community. When I hear you guys talk about the pillars and the importance of the pillars, when I think about the excellence at Kelly Walsh, I know you guys are going in the right direction and the right place. I also feel like I’m a good bridge to the past and Kelly Walsh’s history and I have enough skills to take you guys to the future and be successful that way as well.  

 

AMY ROSE (Current assistant principal here at KW)

Kelly Kall: Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? How you got into education?

Amy Rose: So, both my parents were teachers. My mom taught elementary school for 32 years, here in Casper, maybe one year in Montana. We moved here when I was tiny, preschool age. And my dad taught two years of woodshop at East Junior High before he became a principal at Dean Morgan. So, I was the kid that ran around Dean Morgan, like, that’s where I grew up, you know. I was an athlete, so my biggest influences, of course, were my coaches. And probably about my sophomore year in high school I knew I was going to go into education. That was just what I was going to do. I went to Chadron, which is high in their education program. And then, started to coach and then taught after that. Well, I coached before I graduated for two years, basketball and track in a little town outside of Chadron. You just find your passion early, I think. And then, I taught in Lusk for two years and I taught in Buffalo for ten years. When I left Buffalo, I was the head coach of the volleyball team and the boys and girls track team.  And so, that was just what I did. That was my passion. But I think my parents were my biggest influence and then Mike Kerry, my basketball coach and volleyball coach. I just think when you’re surrounded by the right people, you get influenced in the right way. You just kinda follow where your heart leads. And it was education from when I was just a youngster.

Kelly Kall: What do you have to offer the students at Kelly Walsh?

Amy Rose: Oh my, I think my interests, just because of my background, lie similar to a lot of our population. I’m very active as a person outside of school. I’m a triathlete now, because I’m old and so you start doing things you’ve never done before. I mean, you look at our pillars, the activities and athletics and academics, I have a passion for all of those things. I’m a really big reader outside of work. I don’t really watch TV at all because I just don’t have time for it, but I appreciate everything that everybody does, and so I think there is just a commonality. I believe school does prepare us for our next step. That’s why we’re here. But, I also think that school’s supposed to be fun. I think that what I have to offer is just, I try to be real and I try to just be me. Sometimes that’s the hard edge. You know, it’s all just out of high expectations and we know better.

Kelly Kall: What do you have to offer the teachers at Kelly Walsh?

Amy Rose: I feel like there’s two things that make me stand out for the position. Number one, out of that candidate pool, I’m the only person that has jumped into high school their whole life. That’s the only thing I’ve ever done. I don’t really know how to say that, but it’s what I know, it’s what I like. I have little kids, I don’t want to teach little kids. I don’t wanna do that; let someone else do that. This is my forte. I understand the largeness and importance of this job. Kelly Walsh is now the largest school in the state. And, I had the opportunity to be mentored by Mr. Diller for six years. I know my role as the AD was different and it’s a totally different game and it’s much smaller on the staff end. But, when I got to step over and do the staff and school improvement, I understand, I think, what it takes to move forward. And, I have a lot of love for the people here. I’ve really tried to build relationships, and they’re genuine. Like I said, everybody just gets a little piece of me, that might not be great for everybody, but I try to be as authentic as I can. I really believe that right now, and it’s no disservice to where we’ve been, or where we are, or whatever, but we’re just at a moment of going from good to great. Mr. Diller has set the scene for 23 years, he’s set the culture. The right teachers are here. The kids are great, and so, we don’t wanna take two steps back, and you never do, you always wanna just move forward, and that’s why I think that probably, I’m the right person for the job.

Kelly Kall: How will you address the concerns that Kelly Walsh does not need a continuation of the past, but a change?

Amy Rose: Well, I think, you know I don’t want to speak specifically and get the cart in front of the horse here. You don’t really know what’s gonna happen in the next week. But, there are things that, when I asked the students, ‘What do you wanna hold on to?’ and I asked the teachers that, too, ‘What are our sacred cows?’ Right? You guys have heard that story. What’s so important that if we changed it, it changes the face of Kelly Walsh? And, very clearly it came out, was our pillars and, the students specifically, with acceptance. And so, that’s something that, it cannot change and I think I appreciate that enough to know that that’s a piece that you have to carry forward. As far as the change though, from both groups, really there was a level of high expectations and accountability that I think people, not to say that we don’t have it, but, if we’re gonna move forward and we’re gonna fine-tune our greatness, this is where we can get better. If the kids are willing to say that and the teachers are willing to say that, then I’m definitely ready to lead that.  

 

MARK FRITZ (Current principal at Tongue River High School)

Kelly Kall: Give the students a profile and an idea of what you are like.

Mark Fritz: I’m Mark Fritz, the principal of Tongue River High School. I’ve been there for seven years. I am very positive; I’m a happy-go-lucky. I like to tease kids. I like to have fun and connect with kids. I like to know about them and where they come from, what their family is like and all those good things. I am very passionate about school and I am very passionate about getting you guys what you need. That is just different for every kid. Some kids want to be welders and some kids want to be the next President of the United States. It varies so differently and that’s why we do get to know all the kids and we set up programs for them to be successful. I guess that’s always the fun part. For me personally, it’s always fun when kids come back and talk to you and they’ve graduated college or they’ve graduated and have a family and they get to come back and talk to you and say, “Hey, it’s been nice knowing you and you’ve been a great principal and all those good things.” That’s always fun times for me.

Kelly Kall: There have been concerns about you transitioning from a small school to this large school. How would you make that transition?

Mark Fritz: Yeah, that’s a good one. I go home and think about all the little things that I’ve done, can I do it in a big school? I think we can do it. You know, I’m going to have to have help and we are going to maybe have to split up some of those duties, but we can do that. Sometimes that smalltown connection is a great thing to have in a big town. I’ve heard a lot in these last two days about how you guys kinda have that already. I think that transition is great. I went to a big high school. I went to a school, like, it was 480 kids in my class in Winona, Minnesota. That piece, for me, is okay. I kind of go, ‘I wonder if my son will make it,’ because he’s been living in a 130-person world for high school for the last three years. Sometimes I worry about him, but he’s pretty agile, so he’ll be fine. I don’t think that’s an issue. And I think, yes, I will have to adapt. I used to pride myself to learn every single kid’s name in the first week. That might be tough. So I am like, how am I going to do that? Because the first time I was the Greybull principal I said, “I will do pushups for every kid I don’t know whose name is it by the end of the week.” So, I had two to do. I missed two, I went through the whole thing and I missed two kids’ names. Those things might be a little more difficult here. But the same passion and the same attitude and way to do things.

Kelly Kall: What do you have to offer to the students and teachers of Kelly Walsh?

Mark Fritz: I have a lot to offer. You know, it’s so hard when I don’t know exactly everything about Kelly Walsh, it’s hard to say, “Well, hey, let’s go do this.” But, I have been through so much. I started my career on a reservation, and that was a really tough place. Great kids, I mean, I just loved the kids, but tough for social and emotional and academics and things like that were tough. There, we had to gear things differently. Just like I come in here, I would listen right away and assess things and then make plans to improve. You know, it’s just hard to come in and say, “Oh, I am going to switch everything.” I did that when we talked about the mascots. But, we talked to people first. Community members were coming to me saying, “Why are we three different mascots? That doesn’t make sense.” Those things about just getting to know kids and getting to know what you guys need. Like I said, I have a lot of kids that talk to me. They talk to me about things that they need and a lot of times it’s a great idea, so, let’s do it. I work closely with the student council, I go to their meetings at my school. Because a lot of times the question of the principal is, can we do this? Well, I don’t know, let’s give it a try. So, a lot of times, we try it. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. We want to grow student leaders to do that, that do those things.

 

CHRISTOPHER DRESANG (Current assistant principal at NC)

Kelly Kall: Tell the student body about yourself.

Christopher Dresang: Hello, Trojans. I want to tell you little bit about me. My name is Christopher Dresang. I have lived in Casper all my life. I went to St. Anthony’s, NCHS, Casper College. I’ve graduated from University Wyoming and Montana State University-Billings. I have been a Teacher of the Year in this district. I’m super excited to come to Kelly Walsh High School and be your next principal. Hopefully we can make a lot of good memories and also destroy any other 4A high school in any and every academic and athletic event.

Kelly Kall: How would you address concerns about your transition from our rival school to Kelly Walsh?

Christopher Dresang: I would love to tell the Trojans I’m not trying to come over to Kelly Walsh to make it a NCHS. I’m coming over to Kelly Walsh to learn your guys’ traditions. To help support you become an amazing school. On some level I’m always going to love Natrona County High School, but my loyalty is to Kelly Walsh High School if I become the principal. This is where I’m staying until I have to exit just like Brad Diller.

Kelly Kall: What makes you the best candidate for the students of Kelly Walsh?

Christopher Dresang: I, this is going to sound weird, but I love kids. I love the secondary level. They get my sense of humor. I never feel awkward- well, I feel awkward all the time, but they’re awkward too. So, we get along together and I really feel that at the end of the day we all have the same goals in mind. We want to graduate. We want to become the best people we can ever be and we want to make our parents happy and achieve our dreams.

Kelly Kall: What makes you the best candidate for the teachers of Kelly Walsh?

Christopher Dresang: I know I’m coming from the other high school, but I’ve worked with so many of you on different levels, especially the English department. Hopefully all the certified staff know that I’m about kids. It doesn’t matter where they’re at in Casper, I’m going to do the best to support those kids. And help protect teachers in their academic time and give them the skills and tools they need to make every student the best that they can be.

 

GIBSON OSTHEIMER (Current principal at Park Elementary)

Kelly Kall: Give the students an idea of what you are like?

Gib Ostheimer: Sure, I came to Wyoming about 15-16 years ago to Sheridan. Worked at the junior high and the high school and the alternative school as a science teacher for a number of years. I’ve got four kids, all of them in Wyoming. Currently, my youngest is 20 and is a senior at UW. Came to Casper, really, with the purpose of working with Mr. Diller at Kelly Walsh. I worked there a few years as an assistant principal and then, I’ve been at Park school the last two years.

 

Kelly Kall: How would you make that transition back to high school?

Gib Ostheimer: You know, in 20 years in education I’ve always been a secondary guy, always. And so, when I had an opportunity to work at an elementary, it was just something I had never done. I think that if you’re always comfortable doing what you’ve always done you never grow. So, huge transition for me coming to an elementary. But my heart is really at the secondary level. My favorite kids are those teenage kids. I miss the conversations I can have with older students.

 

Kelly Kall: What do you have to offer the students and teachers at Kelly Walsh?

Gib Ostheimer: I think I care as much or more about your future as a  student as you do. I think the advantage of age and experience is that you gain an understanding of what it takes to be successful at any level, whether that’s school to work or school to post-secondary. There’s just an advantage there and I think that my experience will be beneficial. I’ve got the knowledge and the skills to help your teachers help you do better.

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1 Comment

One Response to “Replacing Diller: Q&A with the Candidates for KW Principal”

  1. Jessica Parks on February 5th, 2018 6:06 pm

    I honestly think that either Amy rose or Mark Fritz from centennial would be a good principal… I have heard that Mark is mean… so if we do get Mark I would like to keep school the same and have it not change very much…. now if amy is our principal that would be so cool because she already knows the routine and so nothing will really change…..

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