Irby heading West Elementary
West Elementary School students now have another person to call "principal." The Eudora USD 491 Board of Education agreed Sept. 9 to hire Jan Irby as interim principal at the building, which houses grades three through five.
"I am delighted to be here," Irby said.
She will fill in as West principal for Rod Moyer during his 18-month training and deployment to Iraq with the Kansas Army National Guard that began Friday when he reported in Iola.
"It's a tremendous opportunity to spend time (at West) in Mr. Moyer's absence, and we look forward to welcoming him back," Irby said.
After days spent toggling between responsibilities at West and tying up loose ends at her state job in Topeka, Irby's first official day is Monday.
The path to overseeing West has taken Irby from administrator of kindergarten through eighth-graders to post-secondary education at Benedictine College. It was a path paved with intent, she said.
"I wanted to know education from beginning to post-secondary," Irby said.
The next obvious step, she said, was to see education from the state level. Irby has taken a leave of absence from her job with the Kansas Department of Education, where she most recently worked with school improvement and accreditation, consulting schools and looking at ways to assist them with improvement.
"I just really missed the kids, being with staff and parents -- there's just no question," Irby said.
Irby said she was grateful for being allowed to take a leave of absence to serve as an interim elementary school principal, and it was a move that made sense.
"This was the right reason for the agency to grant me the leave of absence," she said. "After a while you feel like you're losing touch...I didn't want to be a consultant that didn't understand the needs of practitioners."