Ceglinski Named Principal at McCracken High School
By WestKyStar Staff
PADUCAH, KY - Air-conditioned school buses shuttled people from parking areas to the main entrance of the new McCracken County High School, stirring up dust clouds that swept across campus, filtering into rooms of concrete and steel. There was also a stir of excitement for many who were present at the open house Monday afternoon - it was a first look at the campus, and a chance to meet the newly named Principal, Michael Ceglinski.
Dr. Nancy Waldrop, Superintendent for the county school district, gave a tour of the building after she introduced Ceglinski. She is excited about the future with him as leader.
"If you're lucky enough to know him you will be inspired by his educational vision. He has a passion for teaching and learning, he knows that we can reach every child - that no child can be without something of interest to them. He believes that we can prepare everyone for college or their career, that it's our responsibility to do that, not allow any child to fall through the cracks," Waldrop said.
Ceglinski began his career as a biology teacher at his alma mater, Lone Oak High School (class of 1993), where he later served as assistant principal. In the 2010-11 school year, he was named interim principal of Heath High School and has also served as principal of Ballard Memorial High School. Ceglinski has most recently served as the Director of High School Instruction for McCracken County Public Schools, having held the instructional director position since 2008. He earned a B.S. in biology from the University of Kentucky in 1997, along with a Masters Degree in education in 1999. He also completed a Rank I in school administration from Murray State University.
As for construction, Waldrop says that everything is ahead of schedule, in spite of some wind damage early in the framing process.
"We have been blessed with tremendous weather for this construction. We haven't had any other setbacks, and we are certainly on schedule, and very confident that we will be ready to welcome all of the students of McCracken County High School in August of 2013."
Ceglinski is excited to start planning for staff and students.
He said, "It's been my dream to start a school from the ground up, and I'm getting that chance. Putting people in the positions here, we have great people. And knowing our kids like I think I know our kids, and our staff, having that all come together - that's the stuff that keeps you up at night - in dreams, so I'm looking forward to it all gelling, getting people in place, and the doors open and the kids being here."
Ceglinski says that he will be working with Waldrop to begin filling positions in the new school, based on the needs they have, and the people that they currently have in the school system. He's hoping to have most of the staff positions set in the next six months.
Some students who were at the school passing out information packets were wearing "UNITE" T-shirts, and Ceglinski says that getting the three schools and their followers to unite will be a tricky task over the next 14 months, especially since each school has one more graduating class.
"I want to give kids their chance to go out as a Flash, a Pirate, a Greyhound. That means something to everybody, and I don't want to step on any toes there. So a real challenge is to be able to balance that, and know that we are going to be Mustangs - that's gonna be our reality in another year. So I want to honor that, and yes, we want to have events to bring kids together, but I don't want to push that on them too soon this year, because they still have that tradition that they want to follow. It will happen soon enough, and when we open the doors in 2013 we want to have plenty of things for them to develop what it looks like and sounds like being a Mustang, because that's gonna be who we are."
Many parents in the district have been quite vocal with their opposition to consolidation, and as the plan becomes reality, Ceglinski wants to assure them that he and the school board have the student's best interest at heart.
"We have high hopes, high dreams, high goals, ambitious goals for their kids, and we always have. But I hope that they put trust in us - that we are really working hard for their kids. Time will tell, and to win those folks over will take time for them to see that this is going to be a really good thing, and the programs that we have to offer for their kids are good things, and that we really do want to be an advocate for their student. I don't know if there's anything I can say today to convince them, but over the course of time, hopefully our actions will show that this is going to turn out to be a wonderful thing for their kids."