Building on the past, Long-time staff member takes over EHS head principle position

2011 has been an incredibly busy year for EHS.  Between construction, budget cuts, and restructuring, students and staff alike have been required to keep their minds open to the changes happening around EHS. Another change being welcomed this year is a new head principal.

After working for nine years as an associate administrator at EHS, Mrs. Deborah Asher has been awarded the position of head principal, which had previously been occupied by Dr. James Wipke since 2009.  Now Mrs. Asher, a parent of two Eureka graduates and a long-time staff member, has made the transition from shaping EHS behind-the-scenes to being in the spotlight.

“My ultimate goal for this year is to help everyone realize that we are a team, all of us together working to help students learn and to instill upon everyone how much we embrace success and that we are not just individuals that work in the same building or work in the same group,” Asher said.  “We have to work together and interdependently of each other to reach the goals we are setting for our students.”

From her experience as a staff member at Eureka, Asher has decided to focus on both the condition of the staff and students. 

“She has a good pulse of the needs for the teachers in the building and the need for our students, especially, and how we can continue to move forward with our professional development, with construction and also with making sure the students are successful,” Mr. Jennifer Strauser, assistant principal, said.   “She’s vested in this school and is very loyal.”

While Asher is well known by EHS’ staff, parents and students are unsure of what to expect from her in the position of Head Principal.

 “I’ve only seen Mrs. Asher a few times going into the office when I was a freshman and sophomore,” Emma Michaelsen (11) said.  “I liked her because she was nice.”

Even after only having a short time to prepare, Asher has definite plans for the future of Eureka and its students.

“Our motto this year is ‘Bring back the past only if you’re going to build on it,’” Asher said.  “When you’re good, you can’t rest, or you won’t stay good at what you do.  We’re going to keep examining the practices that we have and keep fine-tuning so we can keep getting better.”

News of a different principal has gotten students talking outside of the campus, not just about her plans for the future, but about her character and credentials.

“It’s great that they hired somebody with experience,” Kurt Bauer (12) said.  “It’s even better that they hired her from within the district.”

The fact that Asher has worked for EHS for nine years prior to her job and is a mother to two Eureka graduates raises her credibility, especially for parents.

 “I think the fact that Asher was promoted from within adds to the feeling of continuity,” Mrs. Michelle Bauer said.  “We’ve been so happy with the experience our senior student has had at Eureka High School that we are vested in it staying the same, and providing our younger son the same experience a year from now.”

While being head principal of a large high school cannot be easy, Asher’s experience at EHS seems to reensure parents.

“I think being a principal is about knowing what’s best for your school and being philosophical about how to run a campus and how to give students the best education,”Mrs. Linda Michaelsen said.  “It’s certainly not something I could do just having been a parent.”

While the future may be unpredictable, Mrs. Asher is determined to focus on Eureka’s past and build on it. Rather than instituting change Asher plans to open her ears to those around her to improve the school she’s assisted for almost a decade.

“She’s always had a devotion to Eureka and its students, and so they need to know she’s there for their best interest,” Strauser said.  “She’s very approachable and looks forward to speaking with students and seeing what they have to say.”