Decision to call off school in District 25 Tuesday was made early due to road conditions; Griffith tapped as new RHS Principal

Superintendent Terry Snyder made a point while Business Manager Mike Collins looked on during discussion at Tuesday Night's FCSD#25 School Board meeting in Riverton. (Ernie Over photo)

Superintendent Terry Snyder made a point while Business Manager Mike Collins looked on during discussion at Tuesday Night’s FCSD#25 School Board meeting in Riverton. (Ernie Over photo)

By Ernie Over, managing editor, County10.com

(Riverton, Wyo.) – Riverton Schools Superintendent Terry Snyder said he had nothing but praise for the District 25 staff for their performance Tuesday when a Snow Day was called, closing Riverton schools for the first time in some 15 years. He told the Riverton School Board Tuesday night that he had only one problem. He didn’t know how to do it. “How do you call school off around here?” the second year superintendent from Nebraska asked veteran board member Carl Manning in a very early morning telephone call. Manning said it was all about the safety of students.

Snyder said he called in his Administrative Assistance Candace McCue who began putting a telephone call list together, advising District and building administrators who then began calling building staff and the media to get the word out.

“It went very well. We only had four calls before 8 a.m. here at the District office, and one call afterwards,” he said. The Superintendent also credited the District’s parents with responding to the event positively. “They were very understanding about it,” he said.

Riverton Middle School Principal Cheryl Mowry said she knew that students would be dropped off by their parents at her building, so she stationed herself near the front entrance to advise those who had not heard about the Snow Day. “I didn’t want any kids to be stranded at school,” she said. Other buildings followed the same protocol.

Knowing that the community was experiencing a big snow event, which generated up to a foot of new snow in some areas, Snyder said the District’s Transportation Coordinator Barry Capellan was out before 5 a.m. driving the county roads around the District to check on conditions while Snyder drove around town checking out the streets. “Barry was concerned over the drifting and getting buses out there and back safely, so we decided not to have school,” Snyder said. “We first thought about not running buses but opening school, but there are those kids who would want to go to school, and we didn’t want them out there trying to get to the buildings by themselves. If it was not safe for buses, we didn’t want to put anyone in danger.”

Snyder said he appreciated everyone’s help and support over the rare Snow Day closure.

John Griffith was promoted to RHS Principal for the 2013-14 school year. He has been the school's assistant principal.  (Ernie Over photo)

John Griffith was promoted to RHS Principal for the 2013-14 school year. He has been the school’s assistant principal. (Ernie Over photo)

In action items at Tuesday’s regular monthly meeting, District trustees followed the recommendation of an interview committee and the superintendent and voted unanimously to offer John Griffith the job as principal at Riverton High School for the 2013-14 school year. He replaces Dr. JoAnne Flanagan, who is moving up to the position of Assistant Superintendent at the end of the current school year. Griffith has been the RHS Assistant Principal.

Snyder said Griffith was the top choice of a committee comprised of administrators, RHS staff and students who conducted the interviews. “He’s worked very hard as an assistant principal to help him prepare for this and even though his primary duties were disciplinary in nature, he stayed very active in instruction and academic leadership,” Snyder said. “His goal was to become a principal, and he had other opportunities around the state and we’re very glad he decided to stay in Riverton.”

Trustees Chairman Mark Stone echoed Snyder’s comments. “I’m happy to see him hired, we needed to keep him in Riverton and I know he’ll do a great job. Past performance is a good indicator of future performance,” he said.

Snyder said the committee only had one concern about Griffith, “and that was that he’d work himself to death. We’ll keep an eye on that,” the superintendent said.