Thayer High School will have a new face for the 2010-2011 school year. Michael Hess of Junction City, Kan., has accepted the high school principal position. Hess has a bachelor's of science degree in secondary science education from Kansas State University a masters of science degree in educational administration from Fort Hays State University and is in the process of finishing his dissertation for a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Kansas which he plans to complete in the fall 2010 semester.
Hess has over 27 years experience in education with eight years as a high school principal. He is currently the high school principal over the Fine Arts and Human Services Academy for the Junction City Public Schools, a school of 1,800 students and is responsible for 400 of the students and 35 faculty members which are quite similar to the numbers at Thayer. When asked why he was looking to leave Kansas, Hess responded that, "He was not looking to retire -- my wife and I are looking for a new home -- somewhere to put down deep roots. We have had a dream of buying a few acres in a semi-rural, picturesque area -- and it's time to try to fulfill that dream."
In his tenure as a teacher, he has served as the science department chair and taught courses in chemistry, physics and general science including advanced placement courses where students can earn college credit in chemistry and physics. Hess believes in promoting student achievement. "I deeply care about students and student improvement. When I work on test preparation and scheduling, it isn't just because I care about whether the school makes AYP --I also do it because I care about whether or not each student reaches proficiency -- and above."
Hess has developed systematic plans collaboratively with his current staff to address the needs of all students. He believes in the scientific process and uses research and data to improve instruction. His current efforts are based on the work of Dr. Jerry Valentine of the University of Missouri and Rick DeFour's work with Professional Learning Communities to facilitate higher learning.
Although Hess will put academics first, he has a deep background in athletics and has coached middle school football, basketball, wrestling and track and has coached high school girl's basketball, softball and track. He currently is the voice of his high school baseball team and enjoys announcing at all their activities. Hess will be moving to the area over the summer and will begin his duties on Aug. 2.