KENESAW — Several new faces will be joining Kenesaw Public School this year, including a new elementary principal.

Joe Wiechman will be the new principal for students in preschool through sixth grade.

Wiechman said his new position will give teachers and staff an administrator specifically to handle issues at the elementary level.

“They’ve never had a specific elementary principal before,” he said. “The staff is excited for it.”

It will be Wiechman’s first year working in an administrative role, but he is familiar with the education system after eight years with Kearney Public Schools as a fifth-grade math and science teacher.

Wiechman officially began the position on Aug. 1, but has been helping the school in hiring teachers and working with staff during the summer. He said he’s excited to take on his new role.

Current Principal Rod Richardson will continue to oversee the seventh to 12th grades.

Richardson said a second principal was added to the school to help divide the duties, which previously had been handled by the principal and superintendent.

Along with the new elementary principal, the school has added Taylor Brase as a Title IX teacher, Aimee Chipps as a second-grade teacher, Siera Meyer as an agriculture and science teacher, and Danielle Dewitt as a Spanish teacher.

Richardson said the new positions mark the first time the school has had full-time agriculture and Spanish teachers.

As a strong agricultural community, Kenesaw has embraced the school’s plan to offer more ag studies.

“We’ve had good community support,” he said. “We’ve had people stop in and offer pasture for us to use. The community seems excited about that program.”

In the same way agriculture classes are important for Nebraska communities, learning the Spanish language can help students find work in a wide variety of employment fields.

“It’s becoming more important for people to be able to speak Spanish,” Richardson said. “It increases your marketability as a prospective employee.”

On Aug. 13 at 5:30 p.m., the school will have an open house so the students and parents can meet the new teachers and visit the classrooms. The first day of school will be Aug. 14, which will be a half day.

Richardson said the school also will have a presentation on the “I Love U Guys” Foundation, which will provide information about school and community safety.

“We have a safe and secure school,” he said. “We’re just looking at ways we can improve that.”

On Aug. 26, the school’s booster club will host a barbecue where they will introduce Kenesaw’s athletic teams for the year.

“It will be a kickoff to the extracurricular activities,” Richardson said.

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