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Dr. Russ Degitz takes the helm at Huntington North

Russ Degitz will become the next principal of Huntington North High School.

The new assignment for the former principal at Lancaster Elementary School was announced Monday, June 13, during a meeting of the the Huntington County Community School Corporation Board of School Trustees.

HNHS is familiar ground to Degitz, who served there previously for 10 years as a teacher, dean of students and baseball coach.

Four generations of the new principal’s family were on hand during the school board meeting to provide their support and congratulations on his appointment, including his parents and his wife, Amy.

“It’s a little bit bittersweet, to be quite frank with you,” Degitz said. “Leaving Lancaster was a very, very difficult decision because the staff there was tremendously supportive and awesome.

“I feel like four years ago about this time they kind of took a gamble on a guy that was a little bit green behind the ears in regard to administration, and I hope that I served them well.

“I’m not looking to the school year with trepidation by any means, but with a ton of excitement because going back to Huntington North is a little bit like going back to home.”

Degitz says he plans to capitalize on the high school’s strengths and address weaknesses as part of his goals as principal. “I’ve got a survey and introductory letter that I’d like to send out to the staff so I can gather that information,” he said. “The worst thing that I could probably do is go in and shoot from the hip and make decisions that are maybe uninformed.

“Even though I was there for 10 years, it has been four years since I’ve been there, since I’ve been at Lancaster. I want to make sure that decisions that are made or any potential tweaks that need to be done are based on good information that the staff has input on.”

Degitz will be succeeded at Lancaster Elementary by Allison Holland, who comes to HCCSC from the North Liberty school system. Holland said it is her first position as a principal.

“I have prayed for this position and have prayed for my school,” she told the board. “The fact that I’m finally here and the school is here is overwhelming. I don’t take this lightly at all. I’m so pumped and so excited … I know this is exactly where I’m supposed to be.”

Other new administrators include Rick Reed, as assistant principal at Lincoln and Flint Springs elementary schools, and Shane Grove, who will become the assistant principal at Crestview Middle School.

Reed previously served as principal at Salamonie Elementary School.

Grove said it is his first full-time administrative position, having come to HCCSC from Speedway High School in Indianapolis, where he served as assistant athletic director for two years.

“It’s definitely the right move; it’s something I didn’t take lightly,” he said. “I researched the Huntington Community, and upon going to meet with the teachers and staff at Crestview, I just saw it was the right fit and the right place to be.”

The board approved all the positions with a unanimous vote, with board member Brian Warpup absent. Board member Holly Thompson expressed her support for the administrators.

“I think we can congratulate them all,” she said.

Superintendent Randy Harris also said he was happy with the new hires.

“I can’t tell you how excited I am about the new administrators we’re bringing on, the ones that have changed positions,” he said. “I think we’ve only been out of school two weeks and I’m already looking forward to the opening of school next year.”

In other action: • The board accepted the donation of 150 iPad 3 cases from Rugged Protection, valued at $3,690.40, for use of the iPads at the elementary schools. Members also unanimously accepted a donation of $10,020.55 from the Northwest PTO for the purchase of new playground equipment.

• Board members also voted 6-0 to approve an additional fee for cosmetology students of $8.52 per month per student for access to the online Mind Tap software that accompanies the student textbooks.

• Assistant Superintendent for Business and Classified Staff Jon Bennett said the school corporation is working on internal control standards and procedures to insure against the potential for fraud, by requiring what he called “multiple eyes looking at things” such as treasurers of the different schools signing off and approving bank account transactions.

It was the first reading of the new policy. The board will have the opportunity to approve the measure at its June 27 meeting.        

• Harris presented an update on the new Learning Center, announcing that the outside has been painted and work is set to begin on the roof of the older building.

“It looks like the Learning Center is going to be completed ahead of time,” he said. “We’re going to be in great shape for the start of the school year.”

A dedication ceremony and open house for the Learning Center is planned for Sept. 15, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Courtesy of the Huntington Tab

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