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New principal at FCHS

By GREG SCELLIN
Signal Editor

For the first time in nearly three decades, when students return to classes next Wednesday at Fillmore Central High School, they will be greeted by someone other than Jim Rose.  Ryun Theobald is the new FCHS principal.
“I have always thought this has been a strong school district,” said Theobald during an interview last week from his office in Geneva.  “I’ve always had my eye on here.  I’ve thought it would be a great location for my family.  When this job popped up, I decided to throw my name into the hat.”
The move from Sterling to Geneva allows his wife, Kim, to have about the same commute to Wilber, where she has taught for 16 years at Wilber-Clatonia, and gets him and his four boys closer to his hometown of Beaver City so his mom can more easily attend the activities of seventh grader Keegan, fifth grader Kiffin and second grader Koen.  Twenty-month old Kash completes the family.
“This move pretty much splits the difference to my home town,” Theobald said.  “We loved Sterling but the declining enrollment was a concern.  And, this is basically the same drive for Kim...having the hospital here is also huge.  The downtown area looks strong...you can get everything here if you want to.  It’s the perfect distance to a lot of places.  It works.”
Another factor in the move for Theobald and his family was he has worked as K-12 principal and activities director under three different superintendents in his six years in Sterling.  This coming year would have been his fourth.
“I am most excited about having a stable administrative team to work with here,” he said.  “I was concerned about the single-digit elementary ages in Sterling.  I have felt so welcome here.  I also like the 40-something class size...it just works out. It’s large enough for a lot of things yet small enough for things like still being able to have multi-sport athletes. Everyone has to participate.”
The 42-year old Southern Valley and University of Nebraska-Kearney graduate began his teaching career at Cedar Rapids as a science instructor.  He also coached varsity football and girls basketball there, along with a variety of junior high sports.  Next, was a seven-year stint at W-C where he also coached varsity football and girls basketball, along with junior high basketball and football.  He also spent three years at Norris High School teaching freshman science and differentiated chemistry before moving on to Sterling.
“My background is being a high school science teacher,” Theobald said.  “I also originally started out being a coach.  This has moved on to me now having aspirations to become a superintendent one day.”
Theobald also noted that serving as an A.D. at FC will be a good fit for him as well.
“I have served as an A.D. for the last seven years,” he said.  “I think it’s important for kids to participate in activities to build skills for life.  I also feel I’m in a good position working with both sides of education this way. I also think I’m organized, focused and a good communicator.  I also like doing what’s best for the kids.”
Now, to fill the shoes of Rose and his long tenure at FC.
“Jim has been very willing to let me stop and ask him about anything,” Theobald said.  “Everything is in place here and ready to go.  This is not ‘my’ building.  This is the building I work in.  This is not a ‘my’ thing.  This is a ‘we’ thing.”
And, now the opening bell on August 16.
“I love coming to school every day,” Theobald said.  “I’m out and about. I feel like I’m easy to get along with...I definitely think I’m approachable.  I have kids in school and I understand the way things go.”