By Woodrow Polston
After the announcement of Kim Pafford’s retirement, the Van-Far R-I School Board of Education began accepting applications last year from candidates who would seek to fill the role as the next principal at the Van-Far Junior High/High School. Among the numerous candidates for the job, was Blaise Stuedle, who has been leading the agriculture/FFA department for the last five years. He has a master’s degree in agriculture communication, and he is also completing his educational specialist in educational leadership and policy analysis, from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
“I am originally from Tipton, Mo.,” said Stuedle. “Back when I first took a job here at Van-Far five years ago, my wife, Ashtyn, and I moved here with our two boys. Since that time, we have really grown in the community, and are enjoying the opportunity to raise our children here in Vandalia,” he added.
The contract for the position is an 11-month term, which will begin on July, 1, 2022. A few facts about high school principals include: There are over 37,000 high school principals currently employed in the U.S., 33.5% of those high school principals are women, while 60.3% are men, and the average age of an employed high school principal is 46 years old. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average high school principal works about 60 hours per week, which includes administrative duties, parent and teacher interactions, and after school events.
“One of my main goals will be to promote the values and aspirations of our students,” said Stuedle. “I want us to make sure that all of our students have the ability to learn. I think it is our job as educators to empower all of the students and provide them with the necessary tools and resources that they need to learn,” he added.
Stuedle has celebrated numerous successful highlights this school year. Included in those accomplishments, was the Van-Far FFA Meats evaluation and Technology Team ranking ninth place overall in the national contest in Indianapolis. One of his students, Ennis Childs, placed first overall, and was the 2021 National Top Participant in the Meats Evaluation and Technology Career Development Event.
“The search for a replacement for his current position will begin in January, 2022,” said Superintendent John Fortney. “The district is excited for the contributions that Mr. Stuedle will make to the junior high/high school, as well as the community,” he added.