Elizabeth School District hosted a reception for Bret McClendon, Elizabeth High School's incoming principal, on May 8. The reception, held in the high school's library, was open to the public to introduce and welcome McClendon to the community. …
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Elizabeth School District hosted a reception for Bret McClendon, Elizabeth High School's incoming principal, on May 8. The reception, held in the high school's library, was open to the public to introduce and welcome McClendon to the community. Earlier in the day, McClendon met formally and informally with students, faculty and staff.
“I appreciate all of you coming out. It's a quarter to 5 on Friday, and you are all in a school library. That says something about your commitment to Elizabeth and to this district,” he said.
McClendon said his conversations with the faculty and staff throughout the day were productive, and he is looking forward to building on the school's current strengths.
“The plan for me is to come in and observe a fantastic school, and just help take it to the next level,” he said.
Superintendent Douglas Bissonette took the opportunity to praise McClendon's 13-year record as a principal, most recently at McPherson High School in McPherson, Kansas, a rural community 60 miles north of Wichita.
“I think that the culture of his current school is a lot closer to the culture of Elizabeth High School than schools that are 10 minutes away. That's going to be a great benefit,” said Bissonette. “What's really cool about his experience in Kansas, especially at that school, is that it's the same size as Elizabeth High School, which is important. The dynamics of a school this size are unique.”
McClendon's hiring comes after an extended search for a new principal lasting over a year. He sat for multiple interviews with members of the school board and faculty and his administrative experience was scrutinized through extensive records and reference checks.
“We wanted to know that the person we saw in Elizabeth is the person they saw there in Kansas, and that it's a good fit. It's important for both of us. What we found was an incredibly high consistency in terms of what all the people in Kansas saw,” said Bissonette.
In his remarks to the group, McClendon expressed his appreciation for the warm reception and emphasized his commitment to the school and the community.
“This is an incredible place. The staff has welcomed me with open arms, the kids have been fantastic,” he said. “I'm leaving a really great school, and I'm coming to a really great school. I think I'm supposed to be here. I think God's put me here for some reason, I can't explain it, and I'm happy with that.”
McClendon will finish the remainder of this school year at McPherson High School and take over his duties in Elizabeth beginning in July to prepare for the 2015-16 school year.
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