School District Hopes To Bring ‘Stability’ to GCHS With Principal Hiring

Cole Albright

Lorraine Duitsman

The Glenwood Community School District will start the 2023-24 school year in August with a new high school principal.

The Glenwood Board of Education approved Cole Albright’s “separation from the  district” as Glenwood Community High School principal at its regular board meeting last Monday, May 8. GCSD Superintendent Dr. Devin Embray said Albright’s departure from the position he had held for just nine months was “mutually agreed upon.”

Albright’s contract with the district ends on June 30 but he will not be present in the building for the remainder of the school year, Embray stated.

First-year GCHS Associate Principal Lorraine Duitsman is now serving as the interim principal and is a possible candidate for the open position.

“Lorraine is very capable, a very bright person, and is doing a really good job by all accounts, so I think she would be in strong consideration for that position, “ Embray said.

Embray said the district would likely make a decision this week on the direction it will ultimately go in filling the vacancy. Embray believes the high school principal position would be an attractive job for quality candidates, but the timing of Albright’s departure is less than ideal.

“Obviously, it’s May and a lot of people are locked in for next year already, so we don’t know where the pool is right now,” he said. “We feel we have a very attractive position, obviously, in Glenwood – what we’ve done, what we’ve accomplished. I think our district would attract quality candidates.

“We’re trying to figure out how to best go about moving forward and get some stability at that position.”

Stability at the high school administrative level has been a challenge for the school district and an area of growing concern for some parents and GCHS staff. The next hire will be Glenwood’s sixth high school principal in 12 years. Shane Stephens replaced Kerry Newman in 2013 but left after one year. Richard Hutchinson held the post from 2014-2019 and was replaced by Rick Nickerson, who resigned in 2022. Albright replaced Nickerson on July 1, 2022.

Albright’s sudden departure follows the district’s decision to contract with Omaha-based Lori Stohs Consulting Group to conduct a “climate and culture” survey at the high school. Embray indicated in a prior interview the study would include both "qualitative and quantitative data gathering," meaning all high school staff, administrators and Embray himself would be surveyed with face-to-face interviews to follow. The result of that survey have not been released but Embray confirmed it came about after an email was sent to the school board in March by a group of teachers at the high school who requested to speak to the board about teacher “attrition at the high school.”

Embray is confident this year’s change in leadership at the high school will prove to be beneficial to the district in the long run.

“I think it’s the first steps to moving forward with our concerns and the climate and culture at the high school,” he said. “I feel like we’re taking steps to correct that and working for the betterment of our school district.”


The Opinion-Tribune

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