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Relationships are key for new 6-12 principal John Niehues

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GCHS principal John Niehues.

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GCHS principal John Niehues.

Greeley County Middle and High School’s new principal, John Niehues, isn’t really new to the district. The former 6-12 grade business and computer teacher is starting his third year here, but this time as an administrator. “I knew I wanted to keep learning and developing relationships,” said Niehues, when asked why the change from classroom to administration. “This seemed to be the option that would allow me to have the most impact on students and teachers, and to develop sustainable relationships with the families and the community. And it satisfied my passion to keep learning and improving myself.” Niehues grew up in Havensville, Kansas, about one hour northeast of Manhattan. “The town had about 50 people. We have a farm and I still go there in the summers and when I can to help. My families farm consists of corn, soybeans, cattle and hay.” He enjoyed school sports, fishing, hunting, and worked for a custom hay operation before graduating from Onaga High School. For one and one-half years, Niehues attended Newman University in Wichita, where he wrestled. After an injury, he returned home, coached some and earned an associates degree from Highland Community College, he then received his bachelor’s degree in education from Kansas State University. His first job was in Abilene, KS, a 4A high school, while there he taught programming, website design, and basic computing classes. He also married Chricket Short, a Sharon Springs native. They moved to Wichita, where she was enrolled in the physical therapy program at Wichita State and he taught at Garden Plain, finding that he really enjoyed the middle school students in his classes. When his wife was recruited for a PT job in Goodland, Niehues found there was an opening in Greeley County and they moved west. “I know going from the classroom to administration will be different,” said Niehues. “I don’t know what will happen, but I will always do my best to be as fair and open as possible with every situation. You have to be able to hear all sides.” “I am glad to have been a teacher here first in that I was able to have already built good relationships with the students and staff. A major goal is to continue showing kids there are lots of avenues to a successful future, but they need a plan. I think I’ve had most, if not all, of the high school students in class and that’s an asset. I believe they see me as fair and consistent.” As far as Greeley County goes, Niehues says it feels like home; it feels like where he grew up in a small tight knit community. “I’ve made a lot of good friends and that’s key for success in a people business – relationships are the key.” Niehues said he is excited for the upcoming school year at Greeley County Schools with a great staff and support staff. “Mr. Holmes, the superintendent, and I believe the entire school staff will work hard to help kids learn and improve on a daily basis. We want them to be productive young adults when they leave here. “We have an all-around great staff and I believe with a we are in store for a good year.” Enrollment was held last week. Teacher in-service begins Monday, August 13, and the first day of school is August 20.
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