The contract has been signed and house hunting has begun for the new superintendent of Broken Bow Public Schools.
In a special meeting of the Broken Bow Board of Education Feb. 3, a two-year contract for superintendent Mark Sievering was approved. The contract includes an annual salary of $125,000 per year and benefits.
According to board president Michelle Zlomke, current interim superintendent Dr. Virginia Moon has been in contact with Sievering regarding any decisions that need to be made for the 2012-13 school year.
“My wife and I love this part of the state! From everything we have seen, Broken Bow is a fantastic community with a great deal to offer,” Sievering says.
Sievering has been the superintendent at Conestoga Public Schools in southeast Nebraska since 2003. He has also been a superintendent at Franklin Public Schools and was the superintendent/principal at Arthur County High School in Arthur. He is well aware of some of the hurdles facing school districts like Broken Bow in the next year or two.
“Adequate funding has been and will continue to be one of the biggest challenges,” Sievering explains. “Various mandates from the state and federal levels will also continue to create challenges for Nebraska school districts.”
While Sievering acknowledges that finances are always a big issue when it comes to operating a school district, he is also quick to point out what he believes are some of the advantages of a school the size of Broken Bow’s.
“In schools the size of Broken Bow, it is much easier for students to know and be known by their teachers and other staff members. This personal connection, in my opinion, provides a tremendous advantage over students in larger systems,” says Sievering. “In addition, I believe they have more opportunities for participation in a variety of activities.
“I have always been a proponent of small rural schools. This perhaps is due in part to my own educational background,” he continues. “From kindergarten through grade 6, I attended school in a fairly large city school system. When I was in the seventh grade, my family moved to the country, and I completed junior high and high school in a small school. I very much appreciated the education and opportunities I had at that school that would not have been available to me in the larger system.”
In his interviews with the school board, Sievering repeatedly made mention of the importance of setting priorities in a school district based on what is best for the students the district serves. In fact, his passion for educating our youth was evident in many of his responses.
“While I am admittedly biased, I see great things in today’s youth. As with all generations, they may do things to frustrate adults, but as a whole, I see them as a creative, energetic generation.
“With the technology available today, they are able to accomplish things that just a few short years ago would have been possible only in a science fiction movie.”
Mark and his wife, Dena, were married in 1978. “We married young,” he quips. They have three grown children, four grandchildren, and a fifth grandchild due in March.
“We enjoy tandem bicycle riding, and have logged over 1,000 miles in the past couple of summers,” Sievering says when asked about what he enjoys outside of work. “I have numerous other hobbies including leatherwork, woodworking, model railroading and music. I also enjoy golf and tennis, but am not extremely skilled at either.”
If you have picked up on the fact that Sievering has a sense of humor from some of his responses, you would be right. “I have learned you can have fun doing serious work,” he said during his second board interview.
The couple has begun their search for a home in Broken Bow, and say they are looking forward to beginning the next chapter in their lives.
“I am extremely excited to move to Broken Bow, and very much looking forward to beginning my new position!
“I noticed we’ve used the word “excited” several times in the past couple of weeks! There seem to be many outstanding projects in progress - I am really looking forward to getting moved here and becoming part of the community.”
Sievering will begin his position with Broken Bow Schools July 1, 2012.