By Dean Backes
With just a few weeks remaining during summer break, Harrisonville High School is in search of a new leader after Wildcat Principal Mark Wiegers turned in his resignation last week.
Wiegers, who had completed four years at Harrisonville, had already interviewed for the open principal position at Center High School in Kansas City when he confidently approached Harrisonville Superintendent Paul Mensching to break the news.
“Mark came to us and said he had interviewed for a job at Center and that he thought there was a good chance he was going to get the job,” Mensching said. “He said we would probably be getting a call from (Center) on a reference check and that’s what happened. They offered him the job last week and then we had to post it as quick as we could so we could move on.”
Mensching said although they do post positions both internally and externally, the district decided to post the open position internally only because the odds of pulling a replacement for Wiegers out of a contract at this time of year weren’t great.
Looking at the candidates that are available, Mensching said there are two assistant principals at the high school and an activities director that are qualified candidates. He also said some of his teachers were certified in administration.
“We haven’t met with the staff yet,” Mensching said. “But we are planning to meet with them this week to get an idea of what they are looking for and talk about the transition plan going forward.
“Typically, what we do when we have a principal vacancy is have a staff committee from that building interview the candidates and then we have an administrative committee interview the candidates. Then we come up with a determination on who we would like to recommend to the board of education.”
Although he is confident they will find a replacement for Wiegers before the school year begins, Mensching did say they are in the process of cutting the budget. The district is in the middle of reducing positions.
“That’s one of the things that we’ll do is evaluate if we can do that at this time,” Mensching said. “Like I said, we had three principals in the building and the enrollment is declining. We have a guide put out a few years ago that gives some recommendations on student population – how many (students) you should have for what position.”
When asked if Wiegers would be let go had he not resigned, Mensching dismissed the notion.
“No,” he said. “He had been offered a contract for this year. He was under contract.”
As he begins the search for a new principal at Harrisonville High School, Mensching said he wishes Wiegers and his family well.
“We wish all of the best to him,” Mensching said. “And we wish his family the best too. Mark had a positive impact with the students. We want them to be where they want to be. But now, I guess it’s onto the next administrator.”