Archive for Monday, January 12, 2009

LHS principal to resign at year’s end

Nilhas to step down at end of school year

For the second time in two years, the Lawrence school district will be searching for a new high school principal.

January 12, 2009


The Lawrence school district will be searching for a new high school principal for the second time in two years.

Lawrence High School Principal Steve Nilhas announced he would resign at the end of the school year to pursue other opportunities.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with great kids, families and faculty. To be a part of the tradition of Lawrence High, I really embrace the tradition, and I think that’s something I very much enjoyed,” said Nilhas, 50, who came to Lawrence in 2003 after serving as the superintendent in Hill City.

He will conclude his sixth year at LHS in July and move on likely to another administrative position somewhere else. He also enjoys teaching.

“I just think the time comes, and this is the time,” said Nilhas, who recently earned his doctorate in educational leadership and special education from Kansas University.

School district leaders last year hired Ed West from Jefferson West High School in Meriden to replace the retiring Joe Snyder, Free State High School’s only principal since it opened in 1997.

Nilhas said his departure will be amicable after he decided to move on. He said he would like to see the next principal build on the school’s academic and athletic successes. It’s also crucial to maintain the school’s fine arts program, he said.

Lawrence Superintendent Randy Weseman, who is retiring at the end of the school year, said Nilhas helped “maintain Lawrence High’s tradition of excellence.”

“Steve has worked collaboratively with the professional staff at Lawrence High to ensure all students have the best educational opportunities. As a result, LHS continues to have a solid record of student achievement and continuous improvement,” Weseman said.

Jeff Plinsky, a fourth-year LHS English teacher and debate coach whom Nilhas hired, said several faculty members learned of the announcement during a meeting Monday. The school has made academic gains under Nilhas, including earning a 2008 Kansas Standard of Excellence award in math for achievements on the 2007-2008 assessment tests.

“I think he is very conscious about wanting to make sure Lawrence High went the extra mile to give every student an opportunity to succeed,” Plinsky said.

District leaders said they would immediately begin a principal search.


KULHSLIONSfan 9 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Nilhas will be missed. He has been a great leader and a real asset to Lawrence High School staff and students.

AlligatorMama 9 years, 2 months ago

What a great principal! He will be missed!

Shelley Bock 9 years, 2 months ago

Although I'm a Free State guy, I've had much interaction with Prinicipal Nilhas. I have have been greatly impressed by his willingness to help his students be successful. I'm very surprised that he is moving on.

termtech215 9 years, 2 months ago

Isn't his child graduating this spring?

unlikelystory 9 years, 2 months ago

I know Dr. Nilhas well as a principal and can honestly say that he is one person who has truly and consistently put his students' needs first. He is a very hard worker, has built wonderful relationships between LHS and its sister school in Paraguay, and always makes time to talk to students when passing by. He also knows almost every single student at LHS by name, and not just the honor roll types. He is a great teacher and a great man. Well done, Steve -- you will be GREATLY missed and I hope that whoever the district chooses to follow you puts a similar emphasis on the needs of STUDENTS and not just the wants of the district.

yoornotmee 9 years, 2 months ago

"He also knows almost every single student at LHS by name, and not just the honor roll types."Not only that, but he REMEMBERS his former student's names! Whenever I'm back at LHS and I pass him in the hall, he greets me by name. Certainly an excellent principal! I hope the next principal is at least half as good as he was!

thinkagain 9 years, 2 months ago

Three and OUT!!Much thanks to you! Have fun and enjoy retirement Mr. Nilhas!

Paul R Getto 9 years, 2 months ago

Great job in a difficult position, sir. Best wishes, good luck and thanks for your service to Lawrence's youth.

Janet Lowther 9 years, 2 months ago

"He said he would like to see the next principal build on the school’s academic and athletic successes."I'm perplexed that a principal would even mention athletic success in the same breath as academic success.Academic success is the administrator's obligation. Period. If a school enjoys athletic success, that is fine, but in no way is it worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as academic success.

sarahsmilehawk 9 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Nilhas' first year at LHS was also my first year there. It's been great to see his success. Nilhas is a minimalist when it comes to silly high school rules, and I remember Lawrence High as a tremendously free place. We had open lunch, tailgating before games, and access to soda during the day--and nobody died! The school newspaper was often very critical of the administration, and Nilhas would read the articles, talk to the writers, and sometimes change his policies; he never tried to censor it.I just really love the way Steve Nilhas ran Lawrence High, and I hope his successor takes the same approach.

mom_of_three 9 years, 1 month ago

I haven't had much contact with the principal at LHS. But I was impressed when I saw him at an away LHS game on Saturday, supporting the teams and kids from his school.

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