District searching for a permanent replacement as principal

Katie Bullock, Editor-in-chief

On Friday, Jan. 20 Superintendent Daniel Clemens held a staff meeting in the Little Theatre to inform the staff that they would be filling the Principal position that was left vacant after Matthew Lindsey’s arrest.

The meeting was an opportunity to implement a system that will allow the staff to give feedback to the district on what they would like to see in a new principal.

“Today’s meeting was getting it so that [the staff] could provide feedback to our human resources department and to Principal Maus so that everybody was heard before we start interviewing candidates,” Clemens said.

Although Mark Maus is filling in as interim principal, the district is searching for a permanent replacement.

“We look for a strong leader, someone that is community-driven, someone that will be able to communicate well with the students and that advocates for those students,” Clemens said. “Those are our baseline qualities, but now the staff gets to tell us what they want.”

According to Clemens, the clubs and activities that occur at Winnetonka will help influence the decisions that go into appointing a new principal.

“We talk about programs that are important to the school so that when we interview candidates for the job we can find one that is a good fit,” Clemens said. ““You have a fine arts program that is just outstanding, an AVID program that’s up for national demonstration status, and also AP classes: We’ll talk about those, all the pieces that make Tonka whole.”

Although the district is in charge of hiring the new principal, Clemens hopes that this meeting and the systems that were put into place as a result of it will help get the staff involved as well.

“As a superintendent, I’m the one hiring someone and putting them here but the teachers and the students are the ones who are going to be working with them everyday, so getting the right fit is critically important,” Clemens said. “The students here are very, very important to me and as a superintendent I’m going to do everything I can to make sure they have a great experience here at Tonka.”

Former Principal Matthew Lindsey, who is now out of jail on bond after being charged with two counts of statutory rape on Jan. 11, has an arraignment scheduled for Tuesday, Feb 7 at 9:30 a.m. in the third floor courtroom of the Ray County Courthouse. At his arraignment he will be formally read the charges against him and will enter his plea.