When longtime Central Heights High School Principal Tom Horstick and Middle School Principal Buddy Welch announced their plans to retire at the end of the 2017-2018 school year, officials realized the loss of both men created a void that could be difficult to fill.

Welch was a part of the USD 288 School District for 38 years, while Horstick served as an administrator for 15 years. Both were graduates of Central Heights.

But when district officials hired Lucas Matile and Bob Risch as administrators in April, school board members were confident both men could live up to the challenge. And so far, they seem to be doing just fine.

Matile serves as the lead principal for students in sixth-12th grades, while Risch is assistant principal for the same age group. He is also serving as the head coach of the Central Heights High School football team. Both men grew up in Franklin County.

LUCAS MATILE

Matile grew up in Princeton, and is a Central Heights graduate. After high school, he pursued a degree degree in agriculture education from Kansas State University. After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in 2004, he taught in the Arkansas City, Lebo and Prairie View school districts. Matile later received his master’s degree in school leadership from Baker University in 2012.

Position: Lead principal for CH middle and high schools. Oversees instructional practices, school activities and discipline as well as lead educational initiatives for the middle and high schools.

Previous experience: Matile taught one year at Arkansas City, five years at Lebo and four years at Prairie View. He also served two years as assistant principal/activities and athletic director and one year as head principal – all at Prairie View.

Why did you decide to go into teaching, and later, administration?

I love people and agriculture so teaching agriculture was a natural fit for me. It allowed me to do exactly what I wanted to do plus I had time to farm during the summer months. I enjoyed coaching and my assistant coach at the time talked me into taking admin classes with him and I really enjoyed the discussion of the situations we were discussing. I felt it was a position I would really enjoy and I could have an impact on more students by being the principal.

What do you enjoy most about education?

I enjoy the light bulb moments...seeing students learn difficult concepts for the first time. I love to challenge people to stretch just beyond their perceived abilities and see them realize that major sense of accomplishment. I know that each of us have an influence to those around us and I feel challenged to make sure each student is having great influences around them while they are at school.

How has educating students changed since starting your career?

I would say technology is the biggest change, but it has had other ramifications. Kids are kids. There were distracted, challenging, knuckle headed kids when I was in school (I know, I was one) just as there are now. There were also great, articulate, forward thinking students then just as there are now. But we now have technology at our fingertips that can give us facts in a matter of seconds. The role of educators has shifted ever so slightly from students must know facts with a smaller emphasis on how to think through complex problems to now I think our major focus is teaching kids how to think and process large challenges and break that down into more simple, manageable tasks.

What do you hope to impart on students?

Confidence. I want our students to graduate from school at Central Heights knowing how to think, how to work, and understand the character traits that many people claim the younger generation does not have anymore. I want them to be beyond respected, but be role models not only for younger people, but their peers and elders as well. I know that is a tall task but we must take on the challenge. I hate when I hear people say “this young generation is...(insert something negative here ex. lazy, addicted to their phone, etc.)” I want to challenge our students to break that stereotype.

Why did you choose Central Heights?

I am a Central Heights graduate. I know the district well, and I am excited that my daughters will have the opportunity to graduate in a small school with the rural values I learned here.

Have you implemented any changes with the start of the new school year?

There were a couple of changes that we implemented this year that will take some adjusting to. First and foremost was our attendance policy. We reduced the amount of times parents could call their son/daughter in and it remain excused. The same thing was done for tardies. Additionally, the big change was not allowing students to run and play in the gym before school and during lunch time. Educationally, speaking though we have added an “At-Risk” program for struggling students as well as restructured how we provide interventions for students.

How do you use social media?

A great mentor told me when I got into administration that people are going to talk, you might as well give them the topic. I think social media is powerful, it should be used to promote the incredible things our students and staff are accomplishing. I feel the more you look for something (positive things going on in school) the more you will see. Our staff and students do amazing things, we just need to let the community see and talk about them.

How can parents reach you if they have questions or concerns?

Please call the school 785-869-3555 or email me lmatile@usd288.org.

BOB RISCH

Risch grew up in Williamsburg. His parents bought a farm there when he was 11 years old, and they still live there today. After graduating from Williamsburg High School in 2003, he attended Butler County Community College. During his time at Butler County, Risch played football, and was a member of the 2003 national championship team. He continued his education at Ottawa University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in art education in 2010. He later earned a master’s degree in building administration in 2018 from Emporia State University.

Position: Assistant principal at CH middle and high schools; CH Vikings head football coach.

Previous experience: This is Risch’s first job as an administrator and head football coach. He taught at El Dorado High School from 2010-2016, and then moved on to teach Anderson County Junior/Senior High School, where he taught for two years, from 2016-2018.

Why did you decide to go into teaching, and later, administration?

I decided to get into teaching and later administration to help kids. I have always loved to see kids learn and understand something that they once did not - which drew me toward a career that would allow me to see that, and be involved in it as well. This also fuels my drive for being a coach.

What do you enjoy most about education?

What I enjoy most is seeing a child get it. It may be a difficult concept, or a life lesson, but seeing the lightbulb go on is extremely rewarding.

How has educating students changed since starting your career?

At the core not much. It is still about connecting with the children and getting them to learn a concept. The biggest change would have to be how we use technology to connect the kids to the concepts.

What do you hope to impart on students?

A sense of ownership to their education and their future. I want the kids to feel that their future is in their hands, that if they put their mind to it they can do it, whatever it is. It might take a lot of hard work, but if they really want it they can do it.

Why did you choose Central Heights?

I grew up in this area. I have known people from this school district for quite a while. Every time I had the chance to speak to someone who work or worked here, went to school here, or have children who go to school here, they could not tell me enough about how great this school district and the people who work here are. After being here for only a short time, I am now one of those people. There is a lot of great people in this district, and that is what attracted me here.”

Have you implemented any changes with the start of the new school year?

We have implemented some minor changes to the middle and high schools. We have implemented an at-risk program as well as increased the application of various levels of MTSS (Multi-Tier System of Supports) instruction.

How do you use social media?

Communication is huge in today’s world. We use social media to both communicate and to promote. Finding ways to stay connected to the community is very important. By using social media, we are able to connect and communicate with the community.

How can parents reach you if they have questions or concerns?

The best way to reach me is through the school at 785-869-3555.