By Steve Peterson
A near capacity audience came to a West Sioux School Board special meeting March 25 — mostly concerned about administrative restructuring.
It was just before 10 p.m. when board members voted unanimously, 5-0, to delete the word “interim” from the 2013-2014 titles of Grades 6-12 Principal/Activities Director Ryan Kramer and Grades TK-5 Principal Carrie Thonstad.
The board actions followed recommendation of Shared Superintendent Randy Collins.
Other than to thank the audience for their comments, there was little school board discussion. Both principals had closed sessions.
One by one speakers from the gathering of more than 30 community members and staff all spoke positively for Kramer. In all, about a dozen people spoke on Kramer and Thonstad’s behalf.
Teacher Ben Bouza, who is also assistant athletic director, reported he had signed petitions from 34 staff in support of Kramer.
Many staff spoke of the culture Kramer has created at the high school and some from their positive dealings with him at the elementary school previously as well as current elementary principal Thonstad.
“I have been at West Sioux for 27 years. I have worked with eight principals and quite a few superintendents. I would say working with Kramer this year has been very enjoyable, very easy for changes, and with the sports aspects have been very well-run and taken care of,” said West Sioux Guidance Counselor Jim Hansen.
“For everyone here tonight it is the dual position that I have concerns with, said Board Vice-President Gary Witt. “Are we asking too much for one person?”
“I asked Ryan to sway my vote,” said Witt. “It is very hard to distinguish what is valid and not valid what you hear. What is considered to be rumor and what is not.”
“But until tonight I have never seen so much support for anything like this from the staff of this school, not all directed at Kramer but at the culture that exists,” he said. “I appreciate the comments. I agree with the person of Ryan, the family of Ryan, but I think differently on some aspects than Ryan. It (the support) does make a difference.”