Granton Middle School And High School
Kraus Serves as New Granton Principal

Amanda Kraus 2018


Amanda Kraus is the new Middle School and High School principal for Granton. 
She is familiar to the district, however,
having taught instrumental music in grades five through 12 for the past two years.
(Valerie Brecht/Clark County Press)

By Valerie Brecht

Although this is her first administrative position, Amanda Kraus is familiar with the Granton School District.  Kraus taught as the fifth through 12th grade band director for the past two years before becoming the middle school and high school principal this year.

Kraus said that she chose to apply for the principal position because working in administration has always been a calling of hers.

Kraus completed her Bachelor of Music degree from St. Norbert College and began her career in education as the choir director for Columbus Catholic Schools in Marshfield.  She earned her Master’s in educational leadership from St. Mary’s University while working at Columbus, which she did for eight years.

“When I started at Columbus, I had an administrator who started the leadership process with me and questioning. Then, the more I dove into the administrative scheduling and figuring out what the principal job really entailed, the more that I loved and became passionate about administration,” she said.

Upon arriving at Granton, Kraus was nearing the end of earning her administration degree through the NORDA, Inc. WISCAD program.  She worked with the administrators at Granton to complete the on-the-job experience required for her degree.  She also served as dean of students.  These experiences enabled Kraus to see the administrative side of Granton, she said.

“I’ve already done a lot of student behavioral things here, made connections and dealt with some of the families already.  So, moving into the principal role was a pretty smooth transition,” she said.

Kraus said the transition has also been made easier by having already worked with district superintendent and elementary principal Scott Woodington.

“We have a great collaborative environment here,” she stated.  “He [Woodington] has years of experience as an administrator and as a superintendent so that has really aided me a lot this year in my transition into an administrative role.

Kraus said that the first few weeks as principal have gone well, although it has been bittersweet with her time as band director coming to an end. However, Kraus has gotten into a daily rhythm with her new duties.

For Kraus, a typical day starts with greeting the students as they enter the school.  She has meetings with students and families throughout the day.  Some of the meetings are disciplinary, said Kraus, while others are organizational, such as meeting with student leaders of school clubs like FFA or the National Honor Society.

At lunch, Kraus walks the hallways to check in with students and see how their day is going and at the end of the day, she wishes students a good night as they leave.

“I try to be out of the office as much as possible.  That’s my goal as an administrator is to be in the hallways and in the classrooms so the students get used to seeing my face around the building,” she said.

Kraus has a couple of goals in mind for the district as the school year moves forward.

“This year our focus for the middle school and high school is just consistency – consistency with the handbook, consistency with how we deal with student behaviors and really coming together as a staff and being outwardly passionate about teaching,” she said.

Kraus also wants to foster community within the school.  To do this, two teachers came up with the idea of having a school-wide “Harry Potter” theme.  Each classroom has some type of decoration related to a character or place in the popular book series.  Middle and high school students and teachers will be sorted into “houses,” teams that they will then compete with for homecoming events and other activities.

Kraus said she hopes the school-wide theme can help teachers to connect with students and promote school unity.

Kraus is looking forward to being involved in Granton’s tight-knit community in a new capacity.

“The biggest thing that drew me to Granton was the community here – the involvement in the school and really the students wanting to better themselves academically and character-wise.  We’re a small school and we really get to know your students, … It’s a really great atmosphere for us to aid them in not only academic growth but growth as a person.”

“My goal for administration is to connect with the families and really create a plan for betterment that the students’ families and community can all be involved in,” said Kraus.

Kraus had the opportunity to apply for the principal position following the resignation of Julie Kolarik Aug. 13.  Kolarik served as middle and high school principal for one year, but was offered a job in Wisconsin Rapids, closer to where she lives in Stevens Point.

A long-term substitute teacher is serving as band director while the district looks for a new band director to fill the vacancy left by Kraus.

Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

September 19, 2018

Transcribed by Dolores M. Kenyon, September 21, 2018.

Web page by James W. Sternitzky PhD, September 22, 2018. 

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