Grosdidier starts anew
Don Grosdidier isn't going back to middle school for a third time because he's unsuccessful. In fact, he succeeded in snatching the middle school principal's position, bringing him back to the building where he attended middle school and later taught high school.
"This is kind of my third time here," Grosdidier said, "as a student, a teacher and a principal."
Coming from the high school building he taught high school social studies in the Eudora School District for 15 years Grosdidier has a few things to get used to in his "new" surroundings.
"The lack of air conditioning poses a huge challenge this time of year," he said. Grosdidier has a window unit in his office, but, examining the buttons, he said he didn't know how to use it yet.
Grosdidier acknowledges the challenges he faces operating an older building with almost constant repair needs.
"In the summer, the maintenance staff really gets busy," Grosdidier said. During his conversation construction sounds of replacing ceiling tiles and painting mute Grosdidier's voice.
Whatever difficulties the building may present, Grosdidier said he looks forward to working with a veteran staff and a good student body. Although that means Grosdidier won't have to formulate any drastic changes, he said he and the staff would like to integrate more thematic units and team teaching.
For example, while students are in Gerald Deman's social studies class, they might study the history of the Civil War. When they're in Bob Sailler's English class, they might read a Civil War novel, like "The Red Badge of Courage."
"I think that's a great way to do it," Grosdidier said.
Getting used to working with younger students won't be too difficult for Grosdidier, whose coaching positions as middle school football coach and former high school girls basketball coach allowed him to work with young teenagers.
"They're a group that has so much energy," he said. "You walk kind of a thin line. You don't want to restrict that in any way, but you've got to channel it and make sure it's going in a positive direction."
With his new title Grosdidier's coaching days are over.
"I'll miss the coaching aspect," he said. "I knew I'd have to give it up."
This won't be Grosdidier's first stint as principal since receiving his administration accreditation in 1997. When Superintendent Marty Kobza moved into resigned Superintendent David Winans place, leaving vacant his principal position at the high school, Grosdidier stepped into Kobza's shoes.
"To finish out the year at the high school was a great opportunity," Grosdidier said.
His 15 years in the district have allowed him to teach sons and daughters of friends he went to school with and to coach and teach his nephews. Grosdidier's colleague Tom Jerome, who recently retired from Nottingham Elementary School, was Grosdidier's principal in the sixth grade when he entered public school after attending a Catholic grade school.
Grosdidier said he considers himself fortunate to move up with out moving out of Eudora.
"I saw this as a great opportunity because when you've been somewhere for 15 years, moving somewhere is very difficult," he said.