Interim superintendent set for PCSD No.1

John Weigel

WHEATLAND – The Platte County School District No. 1 has hired an interim superintendent for the 2023-24 school year.

John Weigel, who comes to the district with several years of proven and respected administration experience, most recently was the superintendent for the Arriba-Flagler Consolidated School District in Flagler, Colorado.

At that position, Weigel was responsible for the general management of the schools of the district under the requirements of the state and the policies of the board. He was responsible for guiding the development of the educational objectives and programs of the school district to fulfill the educational needs all the students. He held that position for two years and prior to that he was in several Wyoming schools since 1988.

At the time of the decision to hire another superintendent, Dustin Kafka, then school board president said, “Here is what I see as the facts...although time is of the essence, the Board feels that we want to move forward quickly, but slow and deliberate in doing so to achieve the best solution possible for the district. Superintendent searches are usually conducted in Dec-Feb, and hiring season is often late Feb. into March. The announcements often run for four weeks, and followed by a couple of weeks of selection processes, and then interviews can be scheduled. The interview process is most often a 36 to 48 hour process for each candidate (touring the district, meeting with staff, community forums, formal interview with the Board). Knowing this is the normal process, there are some options to explore and gather more details. The district could name an Interim Superintendent, which could be available from several sources (in-house/WSBA recommendation/other sources). The Interim Superintendent would allow for time for the district to prepare for the full-scale superintendent search process in December and be at the front of the line (so to speak).  There are pros and cons to any action we will take and the Board will analyze every possibility that surfaces. We are entering the beginning of the process, and a lot more details are to come as conversations continue and the course of action becomes more focused.”  

Since that time, the board was approached by Weigel who expressed an interest to interview for the position and who was in a move to Guernsey as his wife had recently taken the job as the PCSD No. 2 superintendent.

Weigel was born in Sterling, Colorado, and moved to Longmont as a young child. Their family resided in Longmont until Weigel was in the eighth-grade and then they relocated to Worland, Wyoming, as his father’s business expanded. His dad was a part-owner and terminal manager for Edson Express trucking.

In Worland and Weigel’s first taste of Wyoming he excelled as a fullback in football and also played basketball in addition to being inducted into the National Honor Society.

“After high school I went to Black Hills State,” Weigel said. “I went on an academic and football scholarship. I majored in elementary and special education.”

Weigel and his wife were colleagues before they fell in love and were married. Both had a background in special education and had a common student in one of their IEP meetings.

“I was a special ed teacher for three years in Newcastle and seven years in Gillette,” Weigel said. “I had a principal who asked if I’d ever thought about going into administration. I had my Masters in curriculum instruction because I wanted to be a better teacher. The principal then pointed me in the right direction so I could get an endorsement in administration. I followed his lead and had that completed when the position at BOCES (Central Wyoming Board of Cooperative Educational Services) became available. So that was my first administrative position.”

That administrative position was in 1998 and after being a principal for a few years, Weigel took his first spin as an assistant superintendent in Douglas, in 2010. Prior to that, he was the principal at Douglas High School from 2001-2010.

While in Colorado the Weigel and Weigel team were superintendents in neighboring districts and both said that it became quite competitive. The rivalry continues as Lisa is in in Guernsey and John is in Wheatland.

“Yeah, the Bulldogs,” Weigel said. “We want to play the Vikings whenever we can. Extra milkshakes if we win – for sure.”

According to Weigel, school boards that hire this late in the year tend to worry about what kind of pools they will get, so the safe thing is to hire in an interim role.

“It’s a one-year contract,” Weigel said. “They set three goals for the district. The charter school in Chugwater is one – and I think they are right in the middle of trying to figure out how that works and if we lease a building to the charter school and how the funding piece works from a maintenance and operational cost. That’s going to be one right out of the chute that we need to get figured out.”

He also mentioned finances would be a challenge as the district has lost some students and we’ve lost some funding due to ADM from the state. He said that the budget was going to be a big concern.

“It’s a reshaping of the district in light of losing after the loss of students,” he said. “And I think No. 3 is just being positive and building a team. I think the board really wants the best education for the students from Glendo, Wheatland and Chugwater. They also want to build a cohesive team in the district and maybe that’s not the case now. It seems like we want to build a positive culture in the district is a priority for sure. And I like that. It’s a challenge I like and I think it’s great that the board has that focus.”

Weigel says that there is an excitement after meeting with the board and hiring on to PCSD No. 1. His goal is to get out and experience life with the student body and the staff and to get to know personally the ones whose lives will be shaped under the new leadership.

“I am hands on,” Weigel said. “I like to talk to people while they are working and appreciate the work they are doing with the kids. And then the fun part about it is getting to meet and know the kids.”

Weigel is a problem solver with a respected record and a history of success. Wheatland will be looking forward to the next chapters building with his leadership.

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