(By Colin Haffner/Chewelah Independent)
Jenkins High School grad Kris Herda takes over as AD and assistant principal at Freeman…
Jenkins High School graduate Kris Herda is taking on a new role as the Assistant Principal and Athletic Director at Freeman High School.
Though officially Herda is still in his role as the principal for Wellpinit Middle School and Wellpinit High School, he has already begun some work at Freeman High School.
The 2003 graduate of Jenkins High School was hired by Freeman on April 23, and within a week he had already hired on new head coaches for the football and boys basketball teams, Herda said.
It’s a new challenge and an opportunity to broaden his experience, Herda said of his move to Freeman, citing that his entire ten-year education experience has been in the Wellpinit school system as a math teacher for six years and the last four years as the principal for the two schools.
It also helps get him working closer to his home in Spokane where he lives with his wife Kelsie, one-year-old daughter Addison, and soon-to-be-second-child due in August, he said.
The dual role presents Herda with an opportunity to work with students in a variety of ways through the classroom and through the athletic programs at the school, something he has already undertaken in his limited time at Freeman, he said.
Herda is quick to point out that he’s been able to start the work at Freeman before he moves there full time for the next school year because the Wellpinit School District has been supportive in allowing him to do both jobs while finishing out his contract for the current school year.
It gives him the chance to accomplish one of his first goals, to get to know the students and staff at Freeman High School, and to better know what drives them to be successful.
When he does move to Freeman full-time, Herda knows there will be a lot to meet head-on with the student body and the entire Freeman community.
September 13 will mark one year since the shooting at Freeman High School that left one student dead and three others wounded. Just a couple of weeks prior to the start of the school year will be the declination hearing for the shooting suspect to determine if he will be tried as a juvenile or an adult.
This means emotions will be running high throughout the school and community, and Herda knows that it will be important to help them with their continued recovery from the tragedy and provide them strong support in order to move forward.
Herda said it is a very tight knit and supportive community in Freeman.
To illustrate that closeness, Herda said on his very first day he received many texts and messages from people welcoming him to the Freeman family.
“It’s very exciting for me to be welcomed into the family and to be looked at as someone to play a supportive role,” Herda said.
He knows he is walking into a new phase and there will be a big transition for him in his new role, and he’ll be doing it with a new principal to boot.
Herda says another one of his goals is to be able to help lead in the continued academic and athletic success at Freeman, and it’s just as important to be seen working with the students in the classroom as the assistant principal as it is to run a program where all sports feel success together rather than separate entities as the athletic director.
One thing Herda was sad to see going into his first year at Freeman is that they won’t be competing against his alma mater anymore in sports as Jenkins will be reclassifying to 2B in athletics next year.
Nevertheless, Herda is looking forward to the challenge in his new role, and he is glad just to be a part of what he sees as so many from the Chewelah community getting out and making a difference by giving back within the community and region they grew up in.