Fort Calhoun Community Schools

Fort Calhoun Community Schools

Interviews for the next superintendent of Fort Calhoun Community Schools (FCCS) begin this week.

Six candidates — Dr. Chad Dumas, Dr. Logan Lightfoot, Nick Wemhoff, Jerry Green, Angela Simpson and Drew Wagner — will meet with classified and certified staff, tour Fort Calhoun with community members and tour FCCS facilities with current and retiring Supt. Don Johnson before interviewing with the district's school board.

Dumas, Lightfoot and Wemhoff will interview on Wednesday. Green, Simpson and Wagner will interview on Thursday. The meetings are open to the public, and a public notice from FCCS indicated meetings will be at 4 p.m. both days.

After the interviews Thursday, the board will discuss each candidate and possibly decide on their first and second choices for the position.

The Pilot-Tribune asked each candidate two questions prior to their interviews this week. Here are their responses:

2.11.20MeetFCSuptCandidatesChadDumas.png

Dr. Chad Dumas

Current position: Executive director of elementary education, Ames Community Schools, Ames, Iowa.

Experience: Director of learning, Hastings Public Schools, Hastings, 2010-2019; secondary principal, Gibbon Public Schools, Gibbon, 2008-2010; professional development coordinator, ESU 10, Kearney, 2004-2008; vocal music director, Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln, 1999-2004.

Education: Educational doctorate in educational administration, University of Nebraska - Lincoln, 2010; master of science in educational administration, Concordia University, 2003; bachelor of music education, UNL, 1999.

Why did you want to apply for the superintendent position at Fort Calhoun Community School? What made the job appealing to you?

There are two main reasons why I decided to apply for the superintendent position at FCCS. First and foremost, my focus is always on student learning. I have a proven track record of leading this work in a variety of sizes of districts and schools, all while being fiscally conservative and maximizing tax-payer dollars and resources. In doing this, I have specific knowledge and skills to bring together a variety of perspectives to create a common vision and plans to move forward in achieving that vision. In other words, the position of superintendent is where I can bring my knowledge and skills to have the greatest impact on students and school culture.

Second, my pursuit of a superintendency is focused only on those that are a strong match for me and my skills. As such, even though there have been some 20 openings in Nebraska this year, Fort Calhoun is the first one I applied for. The reason FCCS is appealing to me is because of the work of the board, the commitment to continuous improvement and the quality of staff. There is a clear commitment to students, ensuring fiscal responsibility and continuing viability of the district. I have previously engaged with current school administrators, and the district has done excellent work and has a strong reputation for this commitment and excellence. It would be an honor to serve alongside the amazing staff of FCCS as superintendent.

What makes you a good candidate for the position?

Over the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to serve in and with a variety of sizes of districts — from less than one hundred students to many thousand — with many superintendents with different strengths. I have learned from each one. While in Hastings, the superintendent was fond of saying that I was the superintendent of schools in all things relating to curriculum, instruction, and assessment (CIA). In fact, my leadership was not confined simply to “CIA,” but rather involved close collaboration with the directors of technology and operations, special education, student services, human resources and business. This included not only collaboration with professionals within the district, but also with board members and the community.

Throughout my career I have led with a vision of high quality learning for every student, every day. From facilitating school improvement in Lincoln Public Schools to leading Career and Technical Education pathway initiatives; from conducting training for Microsoft’s Partners in Learning “Building 21st Century Schools” to consulting in districts with up to 10,000 students; from teaching educational administration graduate students to writing, earning, and administering competitive and formula grants; from ensuring budgetary compliance to negotiating with vendors for hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings; from collaborating with other school districts, ESUs, and colleges and universities to working with policy-makers at the state and national level; and from overseeing district accreditation to serving as an AdvancEd Lead Evaluator for other districts, my experiences are varied and rich. I am excited about the prospect of serving as your superintendent.

2.11.20MeetFCSuptCandidatesLoganLightfoot.jpg

Logan Lightfoot

Dr. Logan Lightfoot

Current position: Superintendent of schools, Anselmo-Merna Public Schools, Merna.

Experience: High school assistant principal, Excelsior Springs High School, Excelsior Springs, Mo., 2016-2018; 7-12 principal West Platte R-II Schools, Weston, Mo., 2013-2016; middle school assistant principal, Platte County R-III Schools, Platte City, Mo., 2008-2013; read 180 teacher, Platte County R-III Schools, Platte City, Mo., 2007-2008; high school English teacher, Savannah R-III Schools, Savannah, Mo., 2004-2008.

Education: Doctor of education in executive leadership, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Mo., 2012; specialist in education and executive leadership, Saint Louis University, 2010; master of science in education, Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Mo. 2003.

Why did you want to apply for the superintendent position at Fort Calhoun Community School? What made the job appealing to you?

Fort Calhoun's reputation for excellence precedes itself. I'm a husband and a father before I am a superintendent. Fort Calhoun offers a variety of academic programming, top-notch extra-curricular activities, and still maintains the qualities of a small community. It's a place I would like to raise my family. I'm not sure if there's a higher compliment that you can give a community or school. This is a school district that also has tremendous opportunity and promise. I would lead this district, as we serve our students as a premiere school district in Nebraska. I also grew up in this area. I spent several summer nights playing Legion baseball at the ballfields in town. I know the quality of life that this community values because this is what I have lived. Professionally as well as personally, Fort Calhoun is a great place to lead and learn.

What makes you a good candidate for the position?

I currently serve as the superintendent in a wonderful school district that has very similar challenges and opportunities as FCCS. I have been able to lead our district as we navigated through opportunities as well as the obstacles of a growing student population through option enrollment. I have a keen knowledge of the important role that proactive, collaborative planning plays in creating a successful, growing school district. Clear vision and trust often correlate closely to the success of a school district. I've been fortunate to have built a solid foundation in building trust and being a visionary leader. When it comes to managing finances of a school district, I seek creative strategies and solutions to improve our revenue, while being a responsible steward to our tax-paying patrons. At Anselmo-Merna, we have made several enhancements to our curricular programming, transportation and facilities through grants awards that I have written. These funds have supported new school busses, funded salaries for literacy support, purchased needed curriculum support materials and contributed to improvements in our athletic facilities. These are all important characteristics of a successful superintendent, but what I pride myself on is always leading with integrity. This is not the easiest way to lead because leading with integrity sometimes means taking the tougher road, or having the more difficult conversations. I have learned that, as a superintendent, I'll never compromise what is right for students. I lead by advocating for the best interests of our kids.

2.11.20MeetFCSuptCandidatesNickWemhoff.jpg

Nick Wemhoff

Nick Wemhoff

Current position: Assistant principal and athletic director, Fort Calhoun Community Schools.

Experience: Drafting instructor, Columbus High School, Columbus, 2008-2010; industrial technology instructor, Columbus Middle School, Columbus, 2005-2008.

Education: Doctorate of education, Doane University, Crete, currently attending; educational specialist degree, Doane, 2017; master of science in education, Wayne State College, 2010; bachelor of science in education, Wayne State College, 2005.

Why did you want to apply for the superintendent position at Fort Calhoun Community School? What made the job appealing to you?

I applied for the superintendent position because Fort Calhoun has a great school system and community. Our test scores show how competitive we are academically, which is a direct result of how hard our teachers and students work everyday in the classroom. In addition to excelling academically, we focus on helping our students become great individuals who will go out into the world and make a difference.  Students at Fort Calhoun receive a great education. There truly is no other place like the Fort.   

Another reason I applied for the superintendent position is because the community members in Fort Calhoun really support the school. My perspective as both a parent and administrator in the district has allowed me to see firsthand the amount of parent support there is throughout the school district. There is more to great schools than just those that work in the school; great schools are built on a foundation of support and partnerships between school staff, community businesses, parents of current students and the patrons who no longer have children attending our school but are avid supporters of our school district.

When my wife and I decided to start our family, we couldn't imagine raising our children anywhere but Fort Calhoun. This is a great small town where people go out of their way to support one another. When our children are grown, we want them to enter the world with the attributes that this school and community instills: kindness, integrity, trustworthiness, loyalty and faithfulness. The positive experiences I’ve had in my ten years living and working in this community reinforce that there is no place I would rather be a superintendent than at Fort Calhoun Community Schools.  

What makes you a good candidate for the position?

I am a good candidate for this position because I am both a visionary leader and servant leader. One of my strengths is that I am able to look at the big picture and focus on the needs of the school district as a whole. I make every effort to consider the viewpoints of individuals and assess situations from all angles. As the superintendent, I will ensure that our school district is always progressing forward and preparing for the future. My goal is to leave the school district in a better place for the next generation of Pioneers.

In recent years our school district has made progress in many areas, especially in the areas of facilities and technology. With my knowledge and experience in both school finance and facilities, I will continue moving us forward with success. I will continue to support our students and staff by providing them with the resources they need to help them continue to grow and excel in and out of the classroom.  

I believe that everyone is a contributing member of our school district. I will work to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and valued. Every job, every person and every relationship is just as important as the next. Through my current relationships I have built a foundation of trust that makes me approachable in any situation. My goal has always been, and will continue to be, to influence the lives of students, staff and community members in a positive way.

2.11.20MeetFCSuptCandidatesJerryGreen.jpg

Jerry Green

Jerry Green

Current position: Secondary principal, Fort Calhoun Community Schools.

Experience: Assistant principal and athletic director, FCCS, 2008-2010; social science teacher and coach, FCCS, 1994-2008.

Education: Education specialist degree in administration, Doane University, Lincoln, 2017; master of science degree in administration, University of Nebraska-Omaha, 2001; bachelor of science in education, Dana College, Blair, 1994.

Why did you want to apply for the superintendent position at Fort Calhoun Community School? What made the job appealing to you?

Fort Calhoun Community Schools is one of the best school districts in the state. It has a "student first" mentality that is supported by a great staff and progressive board of education. After fourteen years of teaching and twelve years in administration at Fort Calhoun, I feel I am prepared for the next opportunity in my career. We still have a lot to do in the district for our students and community, and I would enjoy the challenge and be honored to continue my work as superintendent.

What makes you a good candidate for the position?

I have resided and worked in the school district for over two decades, and during that time I have truly grown to love the students, faculty and community of Fort Calhoun. My experience with our educational community has prepared me for the position of superintendent. In addition, I believe my passion and vision for education makes me an excellent candidate for superintendent. I have a wide variety of leadership experiences and accomplishments and feel I have the knowledge, organizational skills and leadership abilities to guide Fort Calhoun Community Schools into the future.

2.11.20MeetFCSuptCandidatesAngelaSimpson.JPG

Angela Simpson

Angela Simpson

Current position: Superintendent of schools, Loup City Public Schools, Loup City.

Experience: Director of student support services, Springfield Platteview Community Schools, Springfield, 2016-2018; high school principal, Springfield Platteview Community Schools, 2008-2016; assistant high school principal, Norfolk Public Schools, Norfolk, 2000-2008; math teacher, Lincoln Public Schools, Lincoln, 1995-2000; science teacher, Millard Public Schools, Omaha, 1994-1995.

Education: Education specialist in educational administration, Wayne State College, 2006; master of education in educational administration, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2000; bachelor of science in education, UNL, 1994.

Why did you want to apply for the superintendent position at Fort Calhoun Community School? What made the job appealing to you?

Fort Calhoun Community Schools is a district that has been forward thinking and focused on students. I would look forward to working with this team of teachers, staff, administrators and board members.  The Fort Calhoun district and community is appealing to me for the same reason it should be appealing to prospective parents and businesses: test scores are above much higher than the state average and peers, which shows a commitment to helping each student meet their academic goals. The renovation and addition of school facilities over the last several years shows a board and administration that are planning for growth and to offer facilities that meet the needs of the students, and the district has shown solid fiscal responsibility. These are the pieces of a successful school district.

What makes you a good candidate for the position?

I am excited to bring my experiences to my interview with Fort Calhoun Community Schools. I have had the opportunity to be an administrator in three school districts and each of them have had some great lessons to be learned and to share with my colleagues at each of my school districts. I have been an Assistant Principal in a Class A school district, a Principal and Director of Student Support Services in a Class B district and now a Superintendent in a Class C-2 district. Each of these opportunities has presented challenges and allowed me to work with strong teams of educators to help our students and our community.  I have worked with community leaders to encourage the sharing of resources and to build community pride through school and community activities. The Fort Calhoun Community School district has many strengths, and I believe that I can work with the board, staff and community to create a plan to address finances, academic goals and the changes that will come to the school and community as growth comes from the metro area.

2.11.20MeetFCSuptCandidatesDrewWagner.png

Drew Wagner

Current position: Elementary principal, Fort Calhoun Community Schools.

Experience: Physical and health educator, South Sioux City Community Schools, South Sioux City, 2007-2012; first sergeant mission support group - 185th Air Refueling Wing, Sioux City, Iowa, since 2017.

Education: Education specialist degree, Doane University, Crete, 2017; master of science in education, Wayne State College, 2011; associate degree in applied science, Community College of the Air Force, 2008; bachelor of science in education, Wayne State College, 2006.

Why did you want to apply for the superintendent position at Fort Calhoun Community School? What made the job appealing to you?

This is an opportunity of a lifetime. To be a part of Fort Calhoun Schools for the last eight years has been a dream. The effort and dedication that has poured into this district by the community and staff is second to none. I would love to be the next superintendent of this district and continue greatness at the highest level.

What makes you a good candidate for the position?

I believe a few highlights of my servant leadership include positive energy, a systematic mindset and empowerment to maximize others potential through building relationships. My passion to ensure students are provided the tools to be successful and contribute to society is vital in today's adventures.  I also possess a proactive and systematic approach. I continually strive to have a proactive approach instead of a reactive approach to meet the needs of the system. Lastly, having a positive mindset often leads to positive outcomes. I am so appreciative of getting this unique opportunity to interview to be the next superintendent of Fort Calhoun Schools.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.