By Brett Nachtigall
HOT SPRINGS – Unanimously approved at the Tuesday, April 14 Hot Springs School Board meeting was the hiring of four administrative contracts including a High School/Middle School (Grades 6-12) Principal; a High School/Middle School (Grades 6-12) Assistant Principal/Activities Director; a Special Education Director; and, an Elementary School (Grades K-5) Principal.
None of the individuals hired are current Hot Springs School District employees, meaning that there will be a complete turnover in all of the school’s administrative positions starting with the 2020-21 school year. The first step towards that reality occurred last month when the school board offered the Superintendent position for next school year to current School Business Manager Dennis Fischer, replacing Kevin Coles.
Following the resignation of High School Principal Mary Weiss, and the non-renewals of Grade 3-8 Principal Liz Baker and Grade K-2/SpEd Director Kelly Bilbrey, the school board then opened up those positions earlier this spring.
Incoming Superintendent Fischer along with Board President and Vice President Bob Preuss and Nikki Shaw then interviewed candidates for those three positions. In the process, the board also created a new administrative position that provides assistance to the secondary principal while also covering the duties of the Activities Director, which is a position that had been filled by Levi Klippenstein.
Following is the information provided by the school about each new administrative hire.
Troy Lurz – Secondary Principal (Grades 6-12)
Instructional leader with over 25 years of experience in both classroom teaching and educational administration, the last 17 as a school administrator. Former NSASSP (Nebraska Assn Secondary School Principals) President, 2 time NSASSP Distinguished Service Award Honoree, currently at Gibbon HS in NE.
Abby Karn – Elementary Principal (Grades Pre-K-5)
Recently completed Principal Internship at Knollwood Elementary in Rapid City as well as being their K-5 Intervention Specialist for the past two years. School leader trained in or graduate of Dare to Lead, Aspiring Leaders Academy, KAGAN student engagement teaching & learning strategies, MTSS (Multi-tiered System of Support), Trauma-Informed Academy, PLC’s (Professional Learning Communities), and RTI (Response to Intervention) that she helps incorporate into her school. Prior to stepping into the Interventionist role, was a Kindergarten teacher for 5 years at Wilson Elementary in Rapid City where she was the grade team leader and PBIS Coach.
Charles Hruby – Asst Secondary Principal/Activities Director
Present secondary Science teacher at Webster High School (SD). Prior to this year was Special Education and elementary teacher for the prior 19 years, including 5 years at Rapid City Central HS. Teaching endorsements in Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Special Education, and Elementary Education. Completed Masters in Teaching & Learning in 2016 and Principal endorsement in 2018. After being a track and cross country athlete at Northern State, has stayed active in coaching by serving as varsity girls basketball coach, varsity cross country coach, and varsity track coach in addition to several other coaching assignments.
Jacquieline Schniers – Special Education Director
Currently has spent the past two years as the Special Education Director overseeing 8 Dept of Defense schools in South Korea. Prior to that served as a Behavior Resource Teacher for 6 years in the Douglas School District (Box Elder, SD) and a short stint as Special Ed Resource Room Teacher in Hot Springs (Feb-June 2012). Also taught in Guam and Japan and lead the Guam Special Olympics. Specially trained in Safe Crisis Management, Non-Violent Crisis Intervention, Autism Awareness and Identification, Mental Health First Aide & Suicide Prevention, as served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate. Currently leading implementation of several school-wide initiatives including PLCs, DoDEA Blueprint, and system-wide accreditation among others.