Since John Jarosh and Neal Randel retired, Beatrice Public Schools will have two new additions to their administration this fall. Both of them have grown up in the Kearney area, were previously physical education teachers, and are excited for students to return for the 2021-2022 school year.
Gus Brown, the new assistant principal and activities director at Beatrice High School, said he attended Kearney High School and began school at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, before joining the United States Navy for four years.
“When I left for the military, I thought ‘I’m never coming back. I don’t know why anyone would want to live here.’ And then I got out to California and I was like ‘I just want to go home.’ I like the slower pace,” Brown said.
Brown said he received his bachelors and masters degrees from Chadron State College, before spending his entire 25-year education career, up to this point, at Valentine Community Schools.
“I’ve been in the athletic administration side for 23 of the 25, and prior to that I taught physical education at Valentine Middle School…Valentine is pretty isolated up there, so I was looking to move to a bigger school and learn some new things. The Beatrice job came open, and I did some research. It’s a great school, it’s a great community of strong traditions, so I applied and was fortunate enough to get the job,” Brown said.
As the assistant principal, Brown said he’ll be doing evaluations and working with school attendants to make sure things go smoothly. As activities director, he said he’ll coordinate all activities, including lining up officials, transportation, the day-to-day operations, traveling to events and hosting events.
“There’s more activities here that I have not been fortunate enough to work with,” Brown said. “An example would be the show choir, the competitive cheer team, swimming and diving, tennis, baseball, softball, soccer. Those will all be new to me, so I’m excited to learn about how all of those work, and seeing the kids compete in those events.”
Brown noted the success of several BHS sports and activities from the previous school year, as well as the ensuing excitement from the community. He said students have been working hard in the weight room over the summer, and that this school year should similarly be fun.
“The main thing is the kids, that’s why we’re here,” Brown said. “This year will be a learning year for me, learn how things are ran here. It’s going to be fun.”
And in his free time, Brown said he enjoys traveling, watching baseball and going golfing.
The new assistant principal at Beatrice Middle School is Craig Stengel.
Stengel said he attended Pleasanton Public Schools from kindergarten through high school, and received his bachelors from the University of Nebraska-Kearney before moving to Buckeye, Arizona.
“For the past 15 years, I called Buckeye home. I started out in Buckeye as a P.E. teacher, and then I taught sixth, seventh and eighth grade math for eight years, and then became an assistant principal at one of the elementary schools,” Stengel said. “I have in the past overseen the district athletic departments for nine schools, and here in the past year, I actually started a virtual online school to support our students.”
Stengel said he’s excited to move back to Nebraska and be closer to his family.
“For hobbies, I enjoy fishing,” Stengel said. “I did a lot of hiking, and I’ll have to find somewhere else to hike. I hiked a lot of mountains in Arizona. I’m going to enjoy the weather. I love getting back here. I know it’s hot right now, but it sure feels good compared to the Arizona heat. I’m so excited for fall, and watching Nebraska football.”
As assistant principal, Stengel said his main attention is to support BMS’ staff and students.
“The big focus is to support whatever our school needs, and to help motivate our students to be the best they can and as successful as possible,” Stengel said. “And to support all of our staff, [BMS Principal Andrew Haake] and the whole school community.”
Stengel said the middle school is excited to get their house system up and going this school year.
The system sounds similar to the animal-themed houses that Paddock Lane Elementary started implementing in the 2019-2020 school year, which allows students and teachers in different grades an opportunity to get to know each other.
“Students know a little bit about it, but there’s going to be a lot more exciting surprises and a lot more details going forward with the house system…I’m just excited to be here in the Beatrice community, and can’t wait to get started,” Stengel said. “Excited to meet all of our students, staff and families, and just really excited to get going.”