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Achieving Excellence in 2010-11
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I am Ben Jacobs, the new superintendent of schools for the Ellinwood Public School District. I would like to take this time to introduce myself and talk about my vision and philosophy for the district. I’m very excited to be here and feel like this district is positioned to do great things going forward. I am going to work diligently in cooperation with the community to insure that our students maximize success. My theme for the 2010-11 school year is "Achieving Excellence". It is my belief that the culture of the district should be one of excellence and that will be the standard of expectation.

A little about myself: I was raised in Hays with a brief stay in Ellinwood. I attended St. Joseph school from 1985-1988. I graduated from Thomas More Prep High School in Hays and then attended the University of Nebraska. I graduated from UNL in 1998 with a degree in secondary math education. I then received my first job as a math teacher and coach in the Ellinwood School District in 1999, taking over for longtime Ellinwood teacher Roger Stremel. I received my masters degree in educational administration from FHSU in 2003, and became the assistant principal/activities director at Ellinwood High School in 2004. In 2006, I became the Hoisington High School Principal and as of July 1, 2010, have been the Superintendent of Schools in Ellinwood. My wife Julie Ann, teaches English/debate/forensics at EHS. I also have twin children Banks and Bennett. In addition to spending time with my family, my hobbies include Nebraska football, personal finance, and golf.

My vision for this district is to create a culture of excellence. I believe excellence is what makes being involved with an organization special. Make no mistake, excellence is not achieved overnight and it is certainly not convenient. In fact it is rather inconvenient. That is what makes it so special and gratifying. It will take a progressive mindset which is willing to try new things. It will force us to rethink and review what it is that we do. It will require us to make sacrifices, many of which, are new and uncomfortable. However, when achieved, it creates a special aura around an organization that becomes infectious and creates a feeling of accomplishment that is the most satisfying. My goal is for excellence to be the standard and the status quo culture.

I have some core beliefs that I feel are non-negotiable and paramount to student success and achievement. I believe in creating tangible relationships built respect. I feel this is the best method in which things get done beyond just a level of compliance, but to a level of excellence desired by all. These relationships typically have empathy, trust, and positive modeling at their foundation. I also believe in setting high expectations for students and staff. These expectations create the basis for action within the school. All actions of the school should emanate from these ideals. Students and staff must be held to a high level of expectation if the district is to attain a culture of excellence. Finally, I believe in simple hard work. There is no way around this. Every successful organization has a staff that works hard. The only way substantive goals and objectives get accomplished is with everyone working diligently together. The staff and students will be expected to work hard in making sure the goals of the school are met. This will help in creating the aforementioned culture of excellence.

Some new initiatives that we are looking at implementing include: a community service day in the spring, procuring a radio station dedicated to Ellinwood activities and athletics, implementing a mentoring program in the grade school, and many new exciting technology projects including some video production, webcasts of school events, and some special community broadcasts of various school activities. We are working hard at creating a progressive environment that benefits the students and gives them new opportunities to learn and showcase their skills. We also want to increase recognition for the successes of students and staff. Many great things are being done in the district. That needs to be communicated to the masses. We need to make it unequivocally known to everyone all of the success and impressive achievements that are occurring in this district. We must be proud of our district and be willing to publicly recognize its highlights for all to see.

I would like to encourage all Ellinwood community members to come together and be a part of the Ellinwood School District’s efforts in "Achieving Excellence." This is an exciting time to be a part of the community and school district. We are going to be implementing some new programs and ideas into the district. We want and need your involvement. Please support our activities with your attendance and attention. This support can also come in the form of positive communication, donation of time, and when appropriate, financial contribution. Your support has a beneficial impact on our students’ achievements. If you ever have any questions or want to inquire about how you can help with a district initiative, don’t hesitate to call either of the schools or the central office when pertinent. I am excited to create a new dawn in the Ellinwood Public School District. Ellinwood Public Schools 2010-11: Achieving Excellence.