Tucumcari High School students were visited by “Rattler Man” during Friday’s homecoming pep rally.
Rattler Man told the students how he was going to bring a lot of changes to Tucumcari High School. Students listened, but wondered how these things were going to be made possible.
Who was this strange and mysterious Rattler Man?
His name is Jack Burch.
Burch became the new acting principal at Tucumcari High School last week. The origins of his nickname?
“I don’t really know,” Burch said. “It was one of those ideas that came to me at 4 a.m. when I am not really asleep or really awake. That’s when it sounded like a good idea.”
Burch was introduced to the students by new science teacher Oran Watson.
Watson, who takes over after the passing of Kevin Severance, introduced Burch as a man “who can leap single desks in a single bounce.”
Burch ripped off his dress shirt to show a purple Rattler T-shirt to the cheering crowd of students.
Burch takes over for David Castillo, who was put on paid administrative leave in November. Burch will finish out the school year at Tucumcari. The high school was looking for change and Burch wants to bring it.
“One of the things is I want the students to understand that we need to have school spirit here at Tucumcari,” Burch said. “School spirit is important.”
Burch not only brings change but he also brings experience. He has been involved in education since 1978. He worked at Elida schools for 10 years, the first two as the high school principal and the last eight as the superintendent of schools.
He jumped right into education after graduating from Eastern New Mexico University in 1977.
Burch also wants his students to get on the right track academically just as much as he wants them to have spirit.
“We want to get back to making AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) standards every year,” Burch said.
Test scores and school spirit sound like two good priorities for the new principal. Students seem to be behind him and welcoming Burch to the school.
“The teachers, students and the whole staff have really welcomed me,” Burch said. “I have really enjoyed my short time here so far.”
Will Rattler Man continue to show himself to students at Tucumcari High School? Only time will tell.
Chris Schmaedeke is managing editor of the Quay County Sun. Contact him at 461-1952 or by e-mail: