Local News

Board approves new principal

The Thayer Central Board of Education approved Eric Hoops, one of four candidates interviewed, to start the 2022-2023 school year as the new elementary principal. Current principal Kurk Wiedel is retiring in May. 

Superintendent Randy Page said the district conducted its own search for the new principal. 

“What an outstanding group of applicants,” Page said. “Everyone who participated was so impressed with all the applicants.” 

There were four parts to the interviews — community, staff, administration and a tour. Three of the board members, Chris Hergott, Jeremy Heitmann and Nate Casey also participated, each taking different areas. Hergott headed the tour, Heitmann was with the group of community members and Casey sat in with staff. 

“It was fun to watch the staff take ownership. That’s their future boss and they get to help pick the right one. You want the right fit,” Casey said. 

Wiedel said Hoops, a Deshler graduate, will fit in nicely and inherit a great staff. Wiedel is also excited because Hoops has two young children. 

Page said he’s successfully used the interview process of four components before.

“When you’re in a process, you’re hoping you have people who make it tough to make a decision. That is a great problem for the district to have,” Page said. 

Additional interviews were with Leah Kastrup from Omaha Public Schools who also graduated in Deshler, Josh Lanik of Thayer Central and David Schmit from Osmond. 

Hoops is currently the principal at Chanute Elementary School in Chanute, Kan. His contract begins with a salary of $91,000 with basic benefits. Details of the contract are still being worked out. 

In other business, the board voted to accept donated funds to purchase a 56-passenger coach bus for activities. The funds match the purchase price and will be given to the school because the check for the purchase must come from the school, which will be responsible for maintenance. The funds were raised by the Thayer Central Booster Club.