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Richard received his bachelor’s degree at Winona State University, followed by his master’s degree at Ball State University and secondary administration and supervision license at Purdue University. He has been with the Portage Township Schools his entire 35-year career, and principal at Portage High School since 1995.
Portage High School’s diverse 2,400 member student body is housed in two buildings a freshman building that works in a teaming environment and the other building containing the 10-12 programs, operating on a Block-4 schedule. To address the ever growing multi-cultural needs, Portage High School has established a club is to raise awareness of cultural differences and similarities.
At Portage, the 250 offered courses are clustered in the Five Career Academies the Health, Human Resources, Fine Arts and Communication, Business and Pre-Engineering Academies. A career exploration class for freshmen is a graduation requirement.
Richard says one of the key challenges in a school the size of Portage High School is communication among administration, faculty and students. Holding a variety of scheduled meetings provides an opportunity for dialog and helps develop a positive atmosphere and improve student learning. During his first year as principal, and working with community members, Richard was instrumental in the establishment of a permanent foundation to provide ten $1,000 scholarships annually.
A key partnership between the high school and the community is the Northshore Health Clinic, which is attached to the school building. Providing countless job shadowing experiences, this collaboration has received accolades throughout the state and nation as a model for other communities.
“We Educate Today For Tomorrow’s Success” is Portage High School’s motto. Committing himself to being an educational leader and not accepting status quo, the success of tomorrow’s Portage High School students is assured.
With 26 years experience as an Assistant Principal, George has been instrumental in the initiation of many programs benefiting students in the Merrillville School system, and since 1993 at Valparaiso High School.
Having received his bachelor’s degree at Purdue University in Industrial Arts, George continued his education with his master’s degree, and receiving a life license in educational administration.
Valparaiso High School serves 2050 students with a 10% minority population. To meet the diverse needs of the students, 27 clubs, including a multicultural club, meet weekly. Valparaiso High School was recently selected as 1 of 30 National Model Schools.
George says he is always looking for ways to recognize the academic accomplishments of Valparaiso’s students. He was instrumental in developing the wall of “Academic Excellence” and a special year-end recognition program. He also serves as the school’s academic team coordinator and chairperson of the Duneland Academic Conference.
While recognizing those students who excel academically, he has not forgotten the underachieving students. The PASS (Planned Action for Student Success) program involves a contract with the student who receives three or more F’s, the student’s parents, and the school that outlines what each has to do in order for the student to be more successful.
George believes being an educational leader means being a people person. He feels he has the ability to get along with, and work with people so that everyone benefits, thereby earning the respect of the student body and teaching staff.