Three Lawrence elementary schools will have new principals this fall, but only one of the administrators is new to the district.
Sylvia "Suzie" Soyster has been named principal at Deerfield School. Vicki Weseman has been selected to head India School, and Mike Eltschinger will take the reins at Centennial School.
Soyster, an elementary principal in Iowa City, Iowa, will succeed Verlin Gilbert as principal at Deerfield. Gilbert is retiring this year after 24 years as Deerfield principal.
Soyster is coming to Lawrence from the same city where Lawrence's new superintendent, Al Azinger, has been associate superintendent since 1985.
Although Soyster's selection was announced after Azinger's, she actually applied for the Deerfield post before Azinger was chosen to head Lawrence schools starting in July.
SOYSTER SAID it was a pleasant surprise to learn that she would continue working with Azinger.
"I think he'll do a real nice job for Lawrence," she said.
Soyster actually has spent much of her life in Kansas City, Kan.
"That's where I grew up, and that's home," Soyster said. "I'm looking forward to returning to the area."
After earning a degree in sociology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Soyster worked as an in-patient social worker at a mental health clinic in Hays. She also worked as a juvenile probation officer there.
Soyster, 40, also worked as an elementary teacher in Kansas City, Kan. She moved to Iowa City in 1976 and became a special education teacher there the following year.
Soyster earned a bachelor's degree in elementary education at Iowa State University and a master's degree in special education at the University of Iowa.
IN ADDITION to teaching, Soyster has served Iowa City as a special education consultant for the Grantwood Area Education Agency. And before taking her latest post at Hoover Elementary School, she was an associate junior high school principal for two years.
Soyster and her husband, Harry, have two daughters. Gretchen attends Kansas University, and Meredith just graduated from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis.
Soyster said her husband will continue his job as an education consultant in Iowa City for the time being.
Weseman, 40, has taught Spanish at Central Junior High School for the last four years. Before that, she taught for nine years in the Perry-Lecompton school district. There, she taught for one year at the elementary level before teaching at the middle school and high school.
Weseman, who has earned a master's degree in administration, specialized in elementary education as well as secondary Spanish when she earned her undergraduate degree at KU.
"I'M LOOKING forward to being with elementary-aged kids again," Weseman said, adding that with her experience in middle-level education, "I feel I kind of have a perspective on where they're headed."
She has a very good idea of what some India students are in for because many of them will attend South Junior High School, where her husband, Randy Weseman, is principal.
The Wesemans have a son, Joel, who'll be a junior at KU in the fall, and a daughter, Leah, who'll be a sophomore at Lawrence High School.
Weseman is filling the shoes of Eltschinger, who has been named principal at Centennial.
Under a special arrangement, George Crawford, associate professor of education policy and administration at KU, served as Centennial's principal during 1991-92 after former Centennial Principal Bob Arevalo became principal at Hillcrest School.
ELTSCHINGER, 44, became principal of India and Kaw Valley schools 3 years ago, and in 1991-92 the two were consolidated into India School. Eltschinger's other experience in the district includes teaching at Centennial for eight years and teaching sixth grade at Quail Run School.
Born in Switzerland, Eltschinger came to the United States 33 years ago and became a U.S. citizen in 1984. He grew up in Long Beach, Calif., and started college there before transfering to McPherson College, where he earned his bachelor's degree. He earned both his master's degree and doctorate at KU.
Eltschinger and his wife, Debby, have a 16-month-old son, Paul.