Derby Middle School gains both a new principal and assistant principal this year.
While Principal Clint Shipley and Assistant Principal Mandy Rohr are new to the positions, neither is completely new to Derby Public Schools. Shipley taught social studies at Derby High School for seven years before leaving to work four years as an assistant principal at Haysville Middle School. Rohr has worked for the past 15 years as a DHS history teacher.
With the two having worked together in the past and other administrative relationships he developed as a Derby teacher, Shipley said it factored into his decision to leave a job he liked.
“This was the only position I was interested in,” he said.
While teaching at Derby with Kendall Warkentine – then a Derby High School teacher but now the district’s instructional coordinator for social studies – Shipley became involved with the teacher contract negotiation process. With only a few years of teaching under his belt, he chaired the bargaining process and served as president of the teacher’s union, the Derby-National Education Association.
Shipley also took on the duties of event manager at DHS and completed his master’s degree in administration from Baker University. He obtained his district leadership certificate from Wichita State. His bachelor’s degree is from Kansas State University.
When Shipley took his job at Haysville Middle School, that school district had just split its student population into two schools. As the Derby district looks toward the future and the construction of a second middle school, Shipley said he believes his experience can help guide the process.
He has an understanding of what his previous school district did to prepare for the split. He also understands what happens after the new school opens.
“I kind of got to see the impact,” he said. “It is important to know you don’t just open a building and ‘poof’ it is a school.”
As the district faces the challenges of beginning to lay a groundwork to help create the new school, Shipley said it will be an exciting process with which to be involved.
“I think it is important to lay the foundation of the core values we have,” he said.
Communication between the staff of both schools, after a new one opens, will be key “so we are still functioning with one purpose,” he said.
Shipley said in the coming months, he and Rohr will be listening a lot to returning assistant principal Tim Porter as they learn the culture of the school and how it works. He said Rohr will be valuable to the team, due to her long-term residency in Derby.
“This is my home, this is my community,” Rohr said.
Rohr, a two-time nominee for Teacher of the Year from Derby Public Schools, has been active in instructional leadership, the district’s strategic plan efforts and worked with AYP and accreditation at the local level. She also has served on the state Quality Performance Accreditation committee, giving her an understanding of the direction the state is headed with its regulations in that area.
Rohr has a bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University, a master’s of art in teaching from Emporia State and her master’s of school leadership from Friends University. She taught seven years at Northeast Magnet in Wichita before taking the DHS position.
She said she believes the new job at the middle school is a good fit for both herself and the schools. She said she is also looking forward to working with an “incredible staff” as the efforts begin to create a second middle school for the community.
“It presents lots of new opportunities,” she said.
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