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Northfield principal ready for school year
August 12, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
John Wiedeman, new principal at Northfield Elementary School, was introduce to members of the Gering School Board at their July meeting.

A native from Dalton, he graduated from Leyton High School before earning his education credentials at Doane College. For the past eight years, he’s been teaching elementary school in Lincoln.

Last summer, he returned to the area to take part in an educational leadership program along with Lincoln Elementary Principal Pam Barker.

“Even then, I was impressed with the district and the direction they’re headed,” Wiedeman told the board. “That was before I knew there would be an opening in the district.”

He finished up his educational leadership degree this past May of 2016.

“When I saw the opening in Gering, I thought I’d give it a try. I’ve always felt like this is still home. Our kids are young and we have family out here, so we wanted to be close.”

Wiedeman said the district’s new reading curriculum and focus on educating the whole child, along with the revisions in the discipline program were areas he was involved with in the Lincoln schools.

“I’m fortunate to have an administrator opportunity and I think the district is heading in the right direction,” he said. “I’m ready to be part of a smaller community, getting involved and learning what the schools do very well. I have a group to work with and I’m learning a lot from them.”

Wiedeman succeeds Betty Smith, who retired as Northfield principal after the 2015-2016 school year.

During the school board meeting, Superintendent Bob Hastings also introduced Tim Kwapnioski as the district’s news human resources director, who was previously in the Norfolk schools.

Superintendent Hastings also updated the board on a project to install about 14 new security cameras in the high school building.

“We already have several cameras, but we needed to upgrade the technology,” he said. “This allow us to have more visibility in the building.”

Hastings said the idea for a camera upgrade came about from discussions with the Gering Police Department last school year on how to deal with crises.

“They recommended we have this kind of access where if there’s a crisis, someone can be in a central location and see in real time what’s going on in the building,” Hastings said. “We also looked at the upgrade from a safety standpoint, such as accidents and monitoring the parking lot. It will be a good improvement for us.”

The new cameras are currently being installed and will be in operation for the beginning of the school year. Authorized school personnel will be able to monitor the secured camera system from any computer or mobile device.
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