The Ames Community School District has chosen new principals to oversee its high school and middle school. Meanwhile, Ames High School interim principal Steve Johns, who was to stay in the job through the end of the school year, resigned effective Friday.
District spokesperson Amy DeLashmutt said Johns cited "personal reasons" for his resignation. He took on the role in October 2021 following the reassignment of former principal Valerie Nyberg. He was approved to lead the high school through the end of the 2022-23 school year.
Ames High School associate principal Kenneth Damron will serve as interim principal in his place.
The school district announced it chose Paul Numedahl as the new Ames High School principal and Boston Freilinger as the new Ames Middle School principal. The school board will vote whether to approve their hires at Monday's meeting and, if approved, they would start July 1.
Numedahl is the principal of Humboldt High School in north central Iowa. He was previously the assistant principal at a high school in Monument, Colorado.
Freilinger is associate principal at Hoover High School in Des Moines. He also has served as vice principal of Meredith Middle School in Des Moines.
The board worked with Grundmeyer Leader Services to conduct the search, and, along with stakeholder teams, interviewed finalists on Jan. 25. The district did not name the finalists.
Ames Middle School principal Yonas Michael will continue in his position through June 30, DeLashmutt said.
Michael resigned in May 2022 and was prepared to leave the following month but rescinded his resignation. He later re-submitted his resignation, effective June 30.
Michael has been the middle school's principal since January 2019. He's been with the district for 10 years, including as school and family counselor and director of student services.
Ames student rep expresses concerns over more student fights
Numedahl's assignment comes at a time when the high school has had problems with student fights.
A staff member was taken to the hospital on Dec. 15 after a fight at the high school. DeLashmutt later told the Ames Tribune the injury was not directly related to the fight and the altercation was quickly controlled.
Parents and staff were notified of the incident on the same day, she said.
More:To hear student perspectives, Ames school board fills non-voting representative seats
Still, students are concerned, school board student representative William Geisler told the board in January.
"There's been a very serious concern among the student body, and myself, regarding some of the behavior policies in our district, and just an overall sense of confusion as to how an environment like that could develop in our district that would allow something like that to happen," he said. "It doesn't seem, at least to the student body, that this has been an isolated incident or that it's necessarily improving."
DeLashmutt said the district will continue to educate "our students about behavior expectations when attending our schools." "We will also continue to enforce our student disciplinary guidance to ensure the safety of every individual within our school community," she said.
Nyberg, Johns' predecessor, had been reassigned from her position as principal in October 2021. She later resigned from the district, citing concerns that included safety and support for her.
At the time, the community also had concerns about student fights at the high school. A video posted on Instagram showed a student verbally and physically assault Nyberg in a school hallway.
Phillip Sitter covers education for the Ames Tribune, including Iowa State University and PreK-12 schools in Ames and elsewhere in Story County. Phillip can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He is on Twitter @pslifeisabeauty.
This article originally appeared on Ames Tribune: Ames names new high school, middle school principals