Two county schools under new leadership

By Angela Peacock

Going the extra step to ensure students are developing the skills they need to function in every day life is the main goal for two new superintendents at House and San Jon schools.

Art Brokenbek, House superintendent and Joel Henry, San Jon superintendent believe education doesn’t just happen in the classroom. They said in order to better prepare their students for life after high school they want start educating students as early as elementary school about the different opportunities and challenges they will face throughout their lives, and how education will better prepare them to handle whatever situation may arise.

“A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Just like the body the mind must be exercised too because if you don’t use it you lose it,” Brokenbek said.

Currently House meets state education requirements. Brokenbek said his plan is to work closely with the teachers to give them up-do-date training so students are learning the necessary material to bring the school to where it exceeds state educational standards.

“I want children after they graduate to become productive citizens, and in order to do so we must help them develop the skills they need to function throughout their lives,” Brokenbek said.

House School Board Secretary Dwayne Downey is pleased with the board’s decision to hire Brokenbek. Now that the school has a new superintendent with high expectations and goals for everyone, Downey said he hopes the community of House can overcome some its recent obstacles and continue to move forward in a positive direction.

“I like that he wants to get to know the students and the community,” Downey said. “He’s willing to do whatever he needs to do in order to makes things move at an even flow.”

Giving San Jon schools a sense of consistency throughout all of its programs and academics is Henry’s plan. He believes it is vital that students know how to function in the world once they leave high school. Henry wants to do everything in his power to see that his students learn the skills they need to succeed but also how to cope with their failures.

“It’s important to me that the education students get at San Jon be used in the outside world,” Henry said. “I want students working on higher thinking skills at all times. I want to always be challenging them to think for themselves, and hopefully the challenge will be something they want instead of something that’s being forced on them. I want them to understand the opportunities that can become available when they do challenge themselves.”

Keeping track of where students go and how they are doing after high school is one of Henry’s ideas that San Jon School Board Member Tim Foster believes is important in determining how well the school is preparing students for the outside world.

“If we don’t keep track of our students then we don’t know how well of a job we’re doing,” Foster said. “We need to keep track of our students to make sure they’re being a valuable part of the community wherever they are.”

Foster is also pleased with the board’s decision to hire Henry. Foster said he has great faith in Henry to lead the San Jon community, faculty and staff toward student achievement.

“I believe (Henry) is going to do great things for our district,” Foster said. “It was his personality and willingness to support the students and staff that won the school boards approval.”