The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

New principal prioritizes supporting staff, students

Ginger Eikmeier
On the first day of school, Principal Stefanie Novotny speaks to the student body at an assembly. Novotny introduced herself and reviewed the student handbook.

High expectations, strong communication, visibility and hard work. These are some of the characteristics Stefanie Novotny is hoping to use to be successful as the new principal of Yutan High School.

“You’re going to see me here early in the morning and see me here late at night,” Novotny said. “I don’t ask anybody to do anything that I wouldn’t be willing to do.”

Novotny started her education career teaching math at Pius X High School for nine years and then at Millard North High School for four years while also coaching softball and basketball. Novotny said this is the career she’s always wanted to pursue.

“I always wanted to be a teacher,” Novotny said. “I just think one of the most important things you can do is to give back to kids.”

After those teaching jobs, Novotny decided to switch to the administration side of education. She was the assistant principal at West Ridge Middle School in Grand Island for four years before being hired at Yutan.

“I think I got to the point where I just knew I wanted to do more than just be a teacher,” Novotny said. “For me, it was helping influence the teacher generation and what we could do to help support our students.”

Out of all of her previous experiences, Yutan is the smallest school Novotny has worked at, but she is not new to the small-town atmosphere. In fact, it’s one of the things that drew her to Yutan.

“I grew up in Ashland, and that was a small town…and I just was missing that sense of community,” Novotny said. “I like when it’s football games or basketball games and the whole town goes to support. I also missed just those connections with families.”

Novotny hopes to make connections with the students at Yutan by being there to support them both inside and outside the classroom.

“I just think it’s the presence, so being in classrooms, going to games, supporting kids…it’s just being there and letting them know that you’re supporting them by showing up for them,” Novotny said.

…it’s just being there and letting them know that you’re supporting them by showing up for them.

— Stefanie Novotny

Novotny also said she is avidly posting on Facebook and Twitter to showcase what the students are accomplishing.

“I just think it’s important to give that information out rather than letting somebody else write that narrative,” Novotny said. “Let us write our own narrative.”

Novotny not only hopes to support the students but the staff as well. Novotny said she has been meeting with staff members one-on-one to discuss their strengths, needs, values and goals as well as their interests outside of school.

“I don’t really know a lot of people. They all know I’m the new person, but I don’t know who they are,” Novotny said. “So [I’m] just getting to meet people and [find out] who they are and what’s important to them.”

Even though she is still getting to know the students and staff, Novotny does have some goals of her own to make Yutan High School even better. She has intentions to improve the curriculum and get the student council more involved. She has already taken steps to improve the safety of the school including having staff wear ID badges, requiring students to have a pass when in the hallway outside of passing periods and numbering classrooms and exits.

“I want to make sure people are safe,” Novotny said. “We have that responsibility, when kids come to school, that their parents expect them to be safe.”

Novotny also believes that educators are responsible for letting students know that everyone struggles, but it’s important to remain positive.
“Everybody has good days and everybody has bad days, and it’s how we respond to those that’s important,” Novotny said. “We may come to work or come to school and we’re not having a great day, but there are people here who want to support you, who want to help you, who will do whatever they can to help you be your best.”

Novotny is ready to use her passion and dedication to make Yutan even better.

“I look forward to continuing to analyze processes and procedures and working together to establish systems that are well thought out and communicated to all to help our students succeed,” Novotny said. ”I am so excited to be here at Yutan!”

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About the Contributor
Madi Ledden
Madi Ledden, Sophomore writer
Madi Ledden is a sophomore and in her first year of journalism.  She enjoys writing.  Outside journalism, Madi is involved in cross country and track.
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