By Raymond Neupert/South Metro Observer

WESTON, Wis – DC Everest Senior High principal Dr. Thomas Johansen says he’s ready to leave the school he’s led for more than two decades.

Johansen announced he will retire after spending 23 years as the principal at the high school.

“Well, I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say I was excited about it, because I am,” Johansen said.

District Superintendent Kristine Gilmore says he’s been a stable base for the school for two generations of students.

“Many people in this community know Dr. Johansen as their principal,” Gilmore said. “Having someone who has been part of the tradition of the school and its history has been very helpful over the years.”

Johansen laughed when he heard that quote, and agreed with Gilmore. “I tell you, I get reminded of that quite often, because students would come in and say ‘You had my mom,’ or ‘You had my dad.’”

He says that longevity has been rewarding, because it means building a base with students and families over the long term.

“People in this position have to be concerned about kids every day, and if you don’t have that mindset this isn’t a job you should be doing,” Johansen said.

One thing that Johansen will miss is being able to get out and spend time with the kids on their level, in the classrooms and hallways. “Just going out to talk to kids. Say ‘how’re you doing?’ and ‘How’s school going?’ and ‘How can I help you?’ and then you’re just refreshed and you can come back here and do what you need to do.”

One the school year is over, though, Dr. Johansen says he doesn’t have any concrete changes he’s going to make. He has property in the Northwoods and says he’ll be heading up there more often to spend time with his wife and family.

“No huge plans about moving or travelling or anything, just… enjoying.”

The process for finding a new principal is already underway, and Johansen says he’s been involved.

“We’ve surveyed the faculty, gotten their opinion on ‘what do you need, what kind of leader are you looking for?’ So we’ve got that input,” Johansen said. “We’ll have teachers and possibly some students craft some questions to be answered by our applicants to find out if a person meets our needs or requirements.”

Superintendent Gilmore says she and her staff will be working hard to find a worthy successor for the position. “We think it’s a big job, and we want to make sure it’s the right fit for the district,” Gilmore said.

If you’re looking to apply for the job, Gilmore says you should be ready to uphold the Evergreen traditions.

“We all believe that we’re known for great academics, fine arts, drama, athletics. I think it’s a really innovative school working with our business partners to get kids college and career ready.”