Bella Ruzicka

Here are the top qualities KHS staff and students are looking for in their next principal.

The principal KHS wants

December 14, 2022

On Oct. 14, Dr. Mike Havener, KHS principal, announced his retirement after 29 years of working in KSD. The administration must now find a new principal who is the best fit for KHS and the community. Here are the top qualities KHS staff and students are looking for in their next principal:


Kailyn Inman, physics teacher and JV cheer coach: “I like the way Havener trusts us. I’ve worked at a district where if you leave two minutes early, you get chewed out by your boss. It’s nice to work for somebody that trusts you’re here for the best interest of the kids.”

Good Listener

Inman: “[I want] clarity when it comes to changes, because I don’t know how the school is going to change. [I hope they] make sure students, staff and the community are aware of what’s going on, and [our] thoughts are taken into consideration.”

Garrett Eskelsen, math teacher, baseball and football coach: “I’m looking for a leader, and part of being a leader is listening to the people you’re supposed to listen to. [As] a principal, you listen to students. You listen to teachers. You listen to parents. But [you] make a decision based on what you [believe] is correct.”

Maintaining Kirkwood’s individuality

Eskelsen: “[Kirkwood is] a very special place [and] is very unique. I have limited experience in terms of education, but I’ve been in high school. And [Kirkwood] is very different. [Will the new principal] make those decisions that are going to make Kirkwood still Kirkwood?”


Eskelsen: “If I had [an] issue, I could talk to [Havener]. It’s an open door. I’ve never had a situation where I felt like I needed to [go to him], but I never felt like I couldn’t.”

Maddie Goh, sophomore: “I hope the principal is nice [and] finds ways to improve KHS. I feel like [they’ll] have to find balance. Strict but not too strict, nice but not too nice.”

Student-first mindset

Inman: “[As] a teacher and a coach, I know athletics are important, but school always comes first. I think that’s not an issue now, but I just want to make sure it stays that way.”


Goh: “[They should] be able to take charge in a situation. I feel like they would need to know what to do, and just be a leader, which I think a principal is all about.”

Eskelsen: “The number one thing I’m looking for is a leader. There’s parts of the job you’re going to hate. I’ve [worked] several jobs where you don’t like it and [if] you’re under a bad leader, it seems to magnify those things you don’t like.”


With qualities like these, the new KHS principal can easily fit into the standards of Kirkwood. In November, the administration shared a survey with KHS students and staff to allow them to be a part of the process. The end decision is expected to be made on Jan. 23, and shared with the public the following day. 

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