Seckman High School will be led by another Fox C-6 School District graduate when the next school year starts.
The Board of Education voted 6-1 in a May 14 closed meeting to promote Jeff Krutzsch to be the school’s next principal.
Krutzsch, who had been an assistant principal at Seckman High, is replacing Todd Scott, who is retiring after working for the Fox district for 25 years, with the last four as Seckman High principal.
Krutzsch, 46, will be paid $130,000 as principal. He was paid $124,384 this year. Scott, 49, was paid $136,513.62 this year.
Krutzsch, like Scott, graduated from Fox High and has spent his entire career in the district.
“I’m definitely excited about the opportunity,” Krutzsch said. “I think we do a lot of great things here at Seckman. To be part of that, but in a more prominent role, I think is one of the coolest things that can happen for a guy who grew up in this community and went to Fox schools.”
Board member Dawn Mullins cast the lone no vote.
“My vote is no way a statement as to the qualifications of our employees,” Mullins said. “Rather, it reflects the fact that opening the hiring process to both internal and external candidates is the best way to gain a larger and more diverse pool of applicants. The people of this school district have told us they want an open and transparent hiring process. Frankly, that is what they expect and deserve.”
Keeping it local
Fox only made the Seckman High principal position open to candidates who already worked for the district.
The same process was used to hire the assistant superintendent in charge of secondary education position, which went to Tammy Cardona, who had been the Seckman Middle School principal.
The board also promoted Cardona on May 14, in a 4-2 vote, with board members Steve Holloway and Scott Stewart voting no. Mullins was absent for the vote.
The Seckman Middle principal and Seckman High assistant principal jobs also were only open to internal candidates.
“Districts can take different philosophies based upon what they believe is right at the time,” said Superintendent Jim Wipke, who is leaving the district on July 1 to take a job as superintendent of the Ladue School District. “There are times the board and administration feel like they need external people in our district to bring in new and fresh ideas. There also are times in a district when I think the Board of Education and administration can say we have a lot of good internal people right now, (so) let’s grow our own and promote from within.
“It’s the board’s prerogative on that. The board is ultimately the one that hires and makes a decision. It is our job to support that decision.”
Nisha Patel, the current assistant superintendent in charge of secondary education, who will be the Fox district’s next superintendent, said the decision to hire in-house was not directly linked to the district’s bond issue not passing on April 2. Fox asked voters to approve a 40-cent property tax increase, but the measure, called Proposition S, required a 4/7th (57.14 percent) majority and got 54.74 percent.
“I wouldn’t say that would be a goal,” Patel said when asked if the district could save money by promoting from within. “Any time you have something like Prop S fail, you are going to look at a lot of things. You are going to look at finance and ways we can have some savings. Does this help in terms of a domino effect that could occur (where current staff members are promoted so the district hires a new teacher instead of a new employee at the administrative level)? Yes. But I would not say that was the goal in hiring these two individuals.
“We went through the interview process and came up at these two candidates. I wouldn’t say it is because we are trying to cut cost and hire at a lower salary. We went in there wanting to find the best person for the job. Ultimately, the Board of Education makes the decision to hire individuals.”
Scott said he believes Krutzsch will be an effective principal.
“I’m not leaving it in good hands; I’m leaving it in great hands,” Scott said. “Jeff has committed his professional life to the Fox district. He is a Fox grad. He lives in the community. His kids go to school here. He is all in. He will take what we started here and continue to grow that.”
Krutzsch started working in the district as a Fox High English teacher in 1999. He moved to Seckman High as an assistant principal in 2006.
“(Krutzsch) is part of the Seckman community,” Patel said. “He has such strong ties and loyalties to the school. He cares about the kids. We are excited about him taking the reins there. He will ensure that every kid who walks out of Seckman High school is successful and ready to take on the world.”
Krutzsch and his wife, Christie Krutzsch, have two children. Their daughter, Malorey, graduated from Seckman High this year, and their son, Landon, will be a freshman at Seckman High this coming school year.
“What I think it does for me is when I approach the job every day, I’m seeing it also through the lens of a parent,” Krutzsch said of working at a school his children attend. “I’m able to talk to my kids about the things we do really well here at school, and they also tell me the things as kids they think we missed the mark on.
“Whenever you have kids who attend the school that you work in, you are very conscious about everything you do. Because it is not just the experience of the other students, our decisions impact the experience of my own kids. There is something really cool about being able to affect their high school experience.”
Scott wraps up Fox career
Scott started his career in the district in 1994 as a social studies teacher. He became principal at Ridgewood Middle School in 1998, and then in 2001, he became an assistant principal, spending some of that time at Fox High and some at Seckman High, until 2009, when he was promoted to the Central Office as an assistant superintendent.
“This district is near and dear to my heart,” Scott said. “I’ve spent my whole working career in one place or another in the district, whether it has been Fox or Seckman High School, Ridgewood or Central Office. As an educator, you just kind of know when it is time, and year 25 came around and I had some long conversations with my wife and family and decided it was time for me to go on to some other things that interest me.”
He said some of those include a barbecue catering business and yoga.
“I loved my time with the district and staff and students I have worked with, but my interests outside of school changed a little bit over the last five or six years. I’m hopeful to explore some of those other interests.”
Scott and his wife, Lisa, have two children – daughter Hannah, a 2013 Seckman graduate, and son Connor, who graduated from Seckman in 2016.
Krutzsch said he wants to continue the trend of academic excellence that has been fostered under Scott and Scott’s predecessor, Don Grimshaw.
“You learn a ton about leadership and running a building from two powerhouses like that,” Krutzsch said. “I like to believe that people, through my assistant principal work, appreciate my body of work and know that it is not just words when I say my core is about working with kids and making sure kids are successful. I don’t feel like I am coming in having to prove that to a new community of learners and teachers. I think I already have that behind my name, and it is going to be helpful as we try to continue to have growth and success.”