By Conrad Dudderar
With 24 years of service at one school, Principal Scott Hein was thinking he might finish his career in the same building he started his public education career.
Then an opportunity presented itself to lead a neighborhood school across from Yukon City Park – Shedeck Elementary.
Hein will sorely miss the faculty and staff at Lakeview, where he has been a teacher, assistant principal and head principal. He calls Lakeview a “very special place” with a “rock-star” team of teachers and “great” students.
“It is very difficult to leave the people here; I’m going to miss them,” said Hein, who spent the past 11 years as principal. “For 24 years, Lakeview has been my home. I honestly thought I might spend my whole career here.
“I would have been thrilled to stay at Lakeview any number of years. This (becoming Shedeck principal) was just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Hein has seen some changes over the years at Lakeview, which has been a middle school, elementary school and now an intermediate school since opening in 1996. He began in the Lakeview’s third year.
Now Hein is excited about moving to Shedeck Elementary, where he will succeed Diedre Bradley as principal.
“After 24 years, I’m ready for a new opportunity and a different place to serve Yukon schools,” Hein said. “I love this school district.”
He wants to seize this new opportunity.
“What an amazing team there at Shedeck,” Hein said. “They have kids of all backgrounds and needs. Those teachers and staff over there just exhaust themselves with all kinds of creativity, teamwork and programs that help those kids be successful.
“It’s a neighborhood school right next to the park. Built in 1967, the school has proud, proud traditions.”
As he prepares for his “big leap”, Hein stopped by Shedeck a few times before the 2021-22 school year ended May 19.
“Everybody has been so welcoming, showing me the ropes, showing me around, and helping me meet people,” he said. “Mrs. Bradley has been so gracious. We’re great friends on a personal level, and on a professional level. We truly see this as ‘passing of the torch’ from friend to friend.
“I’m thrilled to be taking it on.”
Having grown up in Madison, Wisc., Hein earned a teaching degree at the University of Oklahoma. He has a master’s degree from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Hein started as a “rookie” teacher in 1998 at what was then Lakeview Middle School, hired by Principal Brenda Hogle. He had been interviewed that April – in a principal’s office that he would ultimately occupy.
Crediting God, Hein said he landed in “the best place in this state to teach and the best community to work.”
MOVING ON UP
After seven years in the classroom, Hein became an LMS assistant principal under Hogle’s successor Rodney Weidenmaier.
He got his start as a teacher and then administrator under Hogle, Weidenmaier and Janice McComas, who he called “legends” in the Yukon school district.
“They had great leadership skills and made Lakeview Middle School a special place to be,” Hein said. “To teach and lead under them was such a great foundation for me.”
In 2008, Hein started feeling the draw and pull to become an elementary site principal. He sought advice and guidance from elementary principals like Carla Smith at Surrey Hills and Lance Haggard at Parkland.
“I went to conferences, workshops and watched classrooms,” Hein said. “I honestly thought back then, in 2009-10, that I might end up principal at one of these neighborhood elementary schools.”
Those plans soon changed when Yukon voters passed a bond issue to fund development of a new high school campus. This prompted YPS officials to reconfigure grade levels and school sites.
The restructuring gave Hein the chance to stay at Lakeview, which became an elementary school with pre-kindergarten through fifth grade when the new YHS opened.
Then-Superintendent Bill Denton named Hein as LES head principal after six years as assistant principal. Interestingly, McComas was Hein’s first assistant principal after she served as district transition coordinator.
Hein recalled what a “massive” task it was to start Lakeview Elementary. It took plenty of grit, hard work and collaboration.
“We brought in teachers from Central, Ranchwood and Skyview who were ‘forced’ to come here, so to speak,” he said. “I did hire several people from other elementary schools. That team of teachers came together.
“We didn’t have the automatic trust of the community; not everybody thought moving elementary kids into those middle school buildings was a good idea.”
During the next few years, Lakeview’s teachers and administrators earned the trust of those elementary students’ families.
Two years ago, Lakeview became one of the district’s three intermediate schools with fourth, fifth and sixth grades.
“We brought in great people from other places, who came from our middle school and blended in with our Lakeview Elementary School family,” he said.
Hein looks ahead to the fall and his latest transition – to principal at Shedeck Elementary School.
“I will always miss Lakeview; it’s family, it’s home,” he said. “But I believe this team (at Lakeview) doesn’t need me. They’re great on their own.
“They’re going to keep doing awesome things for kids without me. I will take credit for hiring great people. That’s the best gift I can leave behind – an absolutely top-notch team of teachers and staff.”
Hein thanked YPS Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth and other district administrators for showing confidence in him to take on this new role.
“When I expressed my interest, they seemed genuinely excited that I wanted to become principal at Shedeck,” Hein said. “They were immediately receptive and supportive in helping me make the transition.
“I appreciate the trust they have that I would be someone to carry on tremendous programs that Mrs. Bradley has in place. That means a lot to me, and I feel very valued and respected.”
Especially encouraging has been Haggard, a longtime Yukon principal who is YPS executive director of elementary education.
In closing, Hein said he absolutely believes this move is a calling.
“I do feel like it’s a God-given assignment to go to Shedeck,” he said. “While I’m sad and am going to miss Lakeview, I ready to go.
“I can’t express how thrilled and honored I am to be part of that Shedeck team. It’s going to be phenomenal.”