The search is over for a replacement for retiring Frontenac High School Principal Joe Martin.



Frontenac USD 249 Superintendent Dale Slagle announced at a gathering at the high school library Monday afternoon that current Frontenac Junior High School principal Ted Hessong will take over for Martin at the end of the 2010-11 school year. Martin has been the FHS principal for the past 22 years.

The search is over for a replacement for retiring Frontenac High School Principal Joe Martin.

Frontenac USD 249 Superintendent Dale Slagle announced at a gathering at the high school library Monday afternoon that current Frontenac Junior High School principal Ted Hessong will take over for Martin at the end of the 2010-11 school year. Martin has been the FHS principal for the past 22 years.

Slagle kept the mood light as he as he introduced Hessong to the gathering of teachers and administrators. But he said Martin’s years of experience would be sorely missed.

“The good ones only last about 10 years,” Slagle said.

Being a principal is not easy task, Slagle said, adding that he was impressed by Martin’s ability to avoid becoming insulated or out-of-touch during his tenure.

“There’s a lot of crust that builds up on a principal,” Slagle grinned. “It’s a tough job, but Joe is a great prognosticator, and he knows where all the skeletons are.”

Slagle said the USD 249 Board of Education confirmed hiring Hessong at a special meeting Monday morning, and that the district had not seriously considered hiring out-of-house.

“When you have good people in-house you’re really fortunate, because they know what’s going on already,” Slagle said.

The Board chose Hessong in part because of his reputation for keeping on top of education trends and the latest coursework development.

“Ted has a great background in curriculum,” Slagle said, again grinning. “He’s still curious, he still reads. Ted’s still looking ahead.”

Hessong, who has been the principal at FJHS since July 2008 and was assistant principal there from July 2003 to 2008, said Martin had gone out of his way to help prepare him for his new role.

“I’m thankful for this opportunity more than anything,” Hessong said. “Joe taught me well. He took me under his wing and taught me everything I need to know.”

“He’ll do a great job,” Martin added.

Slagle said the district will soon open up the search for Hessong’s replacement, and that hopefully the job will be filled by January.

“The best people are always hired first, and we want the very best,” Slagle said.

Afterward, Hessong said becoming principal fulfills a long-time dream.

“When I started out I wanted to be a high school teacher,” Hessong said. “I’m looking forward to a different chapter in my life and the challenges that come with it.”

Of his impending retirement, Martin said it “feels like the right time,” and that he’s glad the high school is in capable hands.

“Ted will do a great job,” Martin said.