"We need to focus on the future. Kingsley has always been a great place for kids to go to school and for folks to raise their families. I just think we have to right the ship a little bit. It's not sinking. It just needs a little more direction."
This month, longtime educator Josh Rothwell took the reigns as Superintendent of Kingsley Area Schools. Mr. Rothwell is familiar with the role and the district: he's a Kingsley native who graduated from Kingsley High School and later went on to teach third grade at Kingsley Elementary. He worked for KAS for several years before moving to Forest Area Schools where he most recently served as superintendent.
"I grew up here. My wife grew up here. My sister and I both went to Kingsley and graduated from here. I was actually a third grade teacher with Molly Dunham for 12 years, and now my daughter is in her class. I coached JV basketball with [KHS teacher] Matt Schelich for 12 or 13 years," said Mr. Rothwell.
"When this job opportunity came up, it was kind of a nice chance to think I could go back home. I know there's been a lot of challenges over the last couple of years, and I just thought with my experience here and being part of that community, I hope we can right the ship and just move forward."
How have your first few days in the district been?
It's really good to see a lot of the people that you know. There are a lot of veterans that have been here but then I think there's there's a lot of pretty solid, positive buzz about the new folks. My intent hopefully is to create a comfortable environment and an enjoyable place to work. I think a lot of people in the past few years have explored other opportunities which is disappointing, but can't really dwell on that.
What are your short-term goals?
To try to build that foundation; have a positive workplace. That was lacking for a while, folks didn't really feel appreciated. These are the folks that are in the trenches doing the work and they deserve to be appreciated because it's a tough job in this day and age. I think, a small goal would just be to get out and about and appreciate what people are doing and just be nice to people. It's amazing how far that goes sometimes.
"The teachers and support staff are the heartbeat of this place. Historically administrators come and go but those core teachers and support staff and bus drivers are the ones who really do the work."
What are your long-term goals?
The elephant in the room is infrastructure and buildings. We are absolutely packed right now in all three buildings at this point. In the elementary, you walk through and see the teachers and staff who work in closets and all that stuff. I'm interested in getting some conversations started. I spoke with Jason (Stowe, the interim superintendent) about a facility study to have somebody come in and really dissect each building to find out where we're at.
What do you want the community to know about you?
It's kind of cliche and dorky but I have an open-door policy. I'm a people person and I like to go to the events and be a part of the community, which I think we already do as a family. I enjoy the community aspect of being here. Knowing people already and meeting new people like families in our community is great because it sets their minds at ease to know that there's somebody there that's supportive of our efforts to educate our kids.
Say hi! Reach out to Mr. Rothwell at email@example.com.