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USD 428 announces principal changes for three schools
Blevins Laura
Laura Blevins

The Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education announced several administrative changes following an executive session at Thursday’s luncheon meeting.
Laura Blevins, Riley School principal, will fill in for Principal Alvena Spangenberg at Lincoln School until she returns sometime this school year. Blevins will then become the official principal when Spangenberg retires.
JoAnn Blevins, Riley School assistant principal, will step up into the Riley principal’s position, effective immediately. The assistant principal’s job at Riley will not be filled due to budget constraints.
Phil Heeke, Great Bend Middle School Ramp Up math teacher, will become the principal at Park School. He will replace Mike Young, who will retire at the end of the school year.
“We felt that we needed someone at Park with experience in a school-wide program,” said Dr. Tom Vernon, superintendent of schools. “Mr. Heeke is experienced in the Success for All school-wide program and Ramp Up at the middle school. But more importantly, he is a fine teacher, good disciplinarian and works on several committees for the betterment of the district.
“We have every confidence in JoAnn Blevins’ ability to lead Riley School,” Vernon said. “She has been both a teacher and administrator at Riley for a number of years and we feel that continuity will be in Riley School’s best interest.
“Laura Blevins will do as fine a job at Lincoln as she has done at Riley,” Vernon said. “Like Riley, Lincoln is an SFA school and could possibly gain from Laura’s experience.
“This, of course, means that we will cut an administrative position at Riley,” he continued. “We hope that this does not have any negative effects on that school. However, we have always said that we should make any cut if the chance presented itself and that includes administrative staff.”
Laura Blevins was first hired by USD 428 as the principal at Eisenhower School in 2003. She was there for two years before moving to Riley School where she has been the principal for six years.
“I am happy to be of service to the district,” Laura Blevins said. “I will miss my Riley School family, but I will enjoy meeting and working with the Lincoln staff, students and community.  I feel very fortunate to be an educator in USD 428. ”
JoAnn Blevins was hired by the district in 1999. She taught sixth grade at Riley School for four years before becoming a math facilitator for three years. In 2006, she was named assistant principal.
“I am excited about becoming Riley’s principal,” JoAnn Blevins said. “Riley is my home and the students, families and teachers are family. I hope that I can help continue the high degree of excellence that Mrs. Laura Blevins has built into our school community. I am proud to be a Riley Roadrunner.”
Heeke has been with USD 428 since 1995, first as a fifth-grade teacher at Riley School and then as a Ramp Up math teacher at Great Bend Middle School.
“I’m ready to accept this challenge in the next step of my professional career,” Heeke said. “I look forward to working with the staff and students at Park School.”