Goessel reluctantly approves superintendent’s retirement

The Goessel school board met on December 9 and received a letter of resignation from superintendent/elementary school principal Dr. John Fast, who is planning to retire at the end of the current school year. Fast has been an educator for 38 years, 24 of those as an administrator at Goessel. “I love my job and the people I work with,” Fast’s letter stated. He mentioned the teachers and staff he has worked with through the years, as well as the students, and the joy they have brought him on a daily basis.

Fast expressed gratitude to the parents and patrons of the school district, as well as the school board, past and present. He said he has sometimes been asked by people outside the school district why he has stayed at Goessel so long. His response is because the staff, teachers, students, parents, and board members are the best to work with.

Board members responded with affirmation for Fast. They expressed appreciation for his dedication to the school district and the community. Board chair Kelly Booton mentioned his “relentless” efforts in keeping the district financially and physically well prepared for the future. “We are deeply indebted to him for that,” he said. These will be “big shoes to fill” for the district.

Board member Kyle Funk agreed that Fast “has done an excellent job of getting our district to a good position for someone else to take over.”

Board member Maynard Knepp said he also appreciates Fast’s commitment to USD 411. “He is leaving us in great shape. Financially we are on very solid ground.” Knepp mentioned that Fast “led an unprecedented 97 percent support for new facilities while maintaining and keeping our existing structures in great shape.” Knepp said he is “very sad to see him move on” but also recognized that Fast “deserves time with family and a little fishing.”

Other board members offered affirmation too. The board reluctantly approved Fast’s retirement resignation.

Fast and the board also wished to recognize board member Darla Meysing for her 12 years on the school board. She did not seek re-election. Fast commended her for her work on legislative issues. He said she went along on almost every trip to Topeka during the years when the legislature “had poor ideas about squeezing small schools.” Fast said she “spoke eloquently” with legislators about those issues.

Fast also reminded the board that Meysing had been instrumental in getting the gym floor replaced at the elementary school 13 or 14 years ago. He said she was on the Parent-Teacher Organization and that group paid half of the cost of the flooring. He said the floor is still in great shape, and it has cut down on bumps and bruises for the children who play on that floor.

Booton also expressed appreciation for Meysing’s years on the school board. Fast said she would receive a plaque recognizing her service to the school district.

Turning their attention to another matter, the board heard from junior high/high school principal Scott Boden about the student of the month recognition that has been instituted at that building. He said the idea for the recognition came from the question of how to recognize students who exemplify the “pillars” that have been identified as goals to work toward.

The “pillars” state that Goessel Bluebirds are respectful, honest, supportive and responsible, and they are leaders.

Respectful Bluebirds will be courteous, listen to the views of others, exercise care for property, will keep unkind comments to themselves, and will stand up for those in need.

Honest Bluebirds will be truthful in what they say, will do their own work, will honor the rules, will play fairly, and will give credit to others for their work.

Supportive Bluebirds will be helpful and encouraging to others, will help build community, will develop positive relationships, will say positive things, and will celebrate the success of others.

Responsible Bluebirds will complete assigned school work, will be prepared for class, will be on time, ask before using something and promptly return it, and will think critically when challenges are presented.

Bluebird leaders will promote school spirit, will eliminate negative influences, will put words into positive action, will take action to improve the community, will welcome new students, and will stop gossip.

In other business, the board:

* heard from Fast that the school received a letter from Dr. Randy Watson, Kansas Commissioner of Education, and Kathy Busch, Chair of the Kansas State Board of Education. According to the letter, the State Board of Education has launched the Kansas Can Star Recognition program, and Goessel has achieved a Copper Award as part of that recognition for academically preparing students for post-secondary success. The letter states, “Congratulations to everyone at USD 411 Goessel for their exceptional work toward achieving the state board’s vision for Kansas education.” Fast explained that the award recognizes the school for post-secondary effectiveness in finding careers and jobs.

* heard from Boden about the recent high school community service day. Activities included: cleaning buses, raking leaves at the school and for community residents, working at the Mennonite Central Committee center in Newton, making peppernuts and playing games with Bethesda Home residents, spending time with Presbyterian Manor residents, working at New Hope Shelter and Caring Hands Humane Society. Boden said that junior high students helped rake leaves.

* recognized the extra effort of staff and volunteers for the Bluebird Classic basketball tournament.

* heard that Goessel will host the 1A State Scholars Bowl tournament February 15 and the 1A Regional basketball tournament February 27-29

* heard that the cheerleaders performed well at the Blue Springs, Missouri, cheerleading event.

* heard that elementary school students collected 653 items for the Tabor Mennonite Church food pantry. The students delivered the food to the church and heard how the food is distributed.

* approved the purchase of 40 Chromebooks for the high school from Connections Solutions at a cost of $11,159.60

* approved the month’s financial statements of $73,067.03.

More from Cynthia Goerzen
Goessel School Board makes annual appointments
The Goessel school board met on July 12 and made annual appointments....
Read More