Hesler formally takes reins as GHS principal

Thursday, January 10, 2013
Russ Hesler

The interim tag is gone for the new Greencastle High School principal.

The writing was on the wall during the December meeting, but the Greencastle School Board made it official Wednesday night, promoting former assistant principal Russ Hesler.

Acting Superintendent Dawn Puckett recommended the transfer to the board, with board member Bill Tobin emphatically making the motion for approval. Mike White seconded the move, and it passed unanimously.

Hesler's appointment brought applause from the board and audience alike.

"There is no one more committed to the success of Greencastle students than Russ Hesler," Puckett said after the meeting. "We're very excited to get to honor Russ's commitment to this community and this school by making him the full-time principal."

The promotion opens the assistant principal's seat at the high school. While a search for a permanent replacement begins Thursday, in the interim, former Greencastle staff member and Cascade High School principal Dorothy Crawley is assisting Hesler.

During the December meeting at which Hesler was named interim principal, some community members questioned the board about going ahead and naming Hesler principal.

The board seemed to be leaning in that direction, but did not make a move at the time. White said the board had plenty on its plate between Jennifer Shepherd's resignation as GHS principal, Superintendent Lori Richmond's leave of absence and naming their interim replacements.

"I think (naming Hesler as principal) was originally the plan," White said. "Things happened very quickly so we kind of had to slow down and just take one thing at a time. I think last month's meeting was plenty hectic enough without trying to do that too.

"We just thought we'd give it a month, let things settle into place."

White cited Hesler's loyalty to the corporation as one of the major factors in naming him principal.

"Russ is one of the most stable people we have in the corporation, and that's really what we need right now," White said. "I think his abilities are there and I think the stability issue is there and clearly a major factor."

The move was also in response to public sentiment.

"I've heard from so many people, and I think the other board members have heard from so many people also, that Hesler needs to be principal," White said. "That's our job, to listen to people and make informed decisions."

Much as he was last month at the outpouring of support, Hesler was honored by the appointment.

"It's a little scary to hear it officially," the beaming new principal said.

"This place is a great place to be and a great place to raise a family," Hesler added. "Greencastle's been good for me for 35 years, and I'm very humbled and honored to be named the principal of Greencastle High School. Wow."

Hesler spoke of the assistance he's had from various sources including the students, community and former staff members who have either returned to help or at least offered their services.

"It's been a calming force at the school, and kids are pitching in. I've had a lot of help," Hesler said. "People are pulling together. Lots of positive things are happening at the high school."

Both Hesler and Puckett spoke highly of Crawley's willingness to come out of retirement to lend a hand and of the know-how she brings to the office.

"Having her back in the building brings years of experience, wisdom and great respect," Puckett said. "We are very grateful for her willingness to come in and help Russ get everything going the way it needs to go."

The principal said it's been a good first week back and a hectic time of year. He is looking forward to the next several months.

"It's a fun time of year. It'll be May before we know it," Hesler said.

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  • A very big welcome to Russ as pricipal and a huge thank you to the board for this long awaited decision.

    -- Posted by momma-j on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 6:42 AM
  • Congratulations Russ. This has been well earned.

    -- Posted by lkcrawle on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 7:25 AM
  • Long long overdue! All the best to you...

    -- Posted by agadgetguy on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 7:29 AM
  • Congrats to Principal Russ Hesler, We are pleased for this decision from the school board. A big Thanks goes out to them. We know the the students are in good hands with your leadership and a thank's also goes out to Dorothy for stepping up with her skills and experience.

    Have a Great 2nd. Semister,

    Lester & Judy

    -- Posted by wilsonphoto on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 7:37 AM
  • Congratulations to Russ and thank you to the board. This was "LONG" overdue. Also, it is nice to know that Dorothy Crawley is walking the halls of Greencastle High School. I know it will be a GREAT rest of this school year for the students and staff alike. Job well done!

    -- Posted by interested party on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 7:48 AM
  • All parents of GHS students need to be very careful. I would never sing his praises and you should all just watch your kids. My experience with him was completely different than the comments written here so this is just a warning to go into this with your eyes open. My child was treated horribly and was frightened under his "watch". Getting completely out of the school system was the only answer so just be wary.

    -- Posted by GotoutofGC on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 7:56 AM
  • Congratulations to Russ and a big "Thank You" to the Board for this wise decision.It was a honor to work with Russ and the GHS staff and it is so good to know things will settle down to some sort of normalcy! Our students have been through some rough years and they are to be congratulated for hanging tough.Russ bleeds purple and gray and will do a fine job.

    Having Dawn Puckett leading the troops is also a breath of fresh air. Dawn is a professional with common sense and intelligence that our corporation needs.

    Good things are finally happening for our schools and students. The Greencastle community is fortunate to have such outstanding educators in the classrooms and now being lead by outstanding leaders.

    Jim Church

    -- Posted by 4155573 on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 8:12 AM
  • I agree with Mr. Church. Russ bleeds purple and gray. Congratulations!

    -- Posted by terricollins13 on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 11:13 AM
  • Congratulations Russ,I think... Seems like there is a lot to work on.

    -- Posted by Old Soul on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 1:05 PM
  • Congrats Russ, we wish you the best!!

    -- Posted by stacywhite on Thu, Jan 10, 2013, at 3:54 PM
  • Congrats Russ- Many do not appreciate your leadership style and is one needed in today's public schools. All the best, and good luck to the wrestlers this year. "Wrestling is what Men do during Boys' Basketball season"

    -- Posted by GRNT on Fri, Jan 11, 2013, at 6:58 AM
  • FINALLY!!!!! Congrats Coach! You were a very big part of my life at Greencastle High School, as a coach and as a teacher. I thank you for you being who you are. I know how much you care about all the kids that have come through the doors of that school, and all those that will in the future. Its true, you bleed Purple! I know you will do a fantastic job as Principle and I wish you the best. You do have a lot to work on, but you are the right person for the job!

    "The true measure of a man is not how he behaves in moments of comfort and convenience but how he stands at times of controversy and challenges."

    -- Posted by formertigercub on Fri, Jan 11, 2013, at 11:53 AM
  • Great news for Putnam County!! My husband has been a huge fan of Russ since he coached him waaaay back in the day. Very happy to hear things are looking up for the Tiger Cubs. GHS was always a shining example and I'm sure it will be back to its former glory soon. We are not even Gcastle residents (Cdale), but we love Russ and are happy he's been put in this position. And having Dawn Puckett as Superintendent ain't too shabby either. I have always respected and admired EVERY Puckett I have known...great educator family. Good news all around!

    -- Posted by ISUmom2012 on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, at 12:13 PM
  • I agree with Got out of GC. My child graduated under Jim Church, thank goodness!!! Russ did nothing but intimidate my child, make my child cry and he was never someone my child could rely on. Russ doesn't handle female parents very well, especially if they voice their thoughts or opinions. It got so bad Dr. Green ask him not to deal with me anymore. I know of other female parents that were in this same category. I have spoken with other parents and they have stated Russ has harassed their sons' so badly they dropped out of school. I hope he has changed. Parents please beware!!!! I can prove what I am saying!!!!!

    -- Posted by Insunshine on Fri, Jan 18, 2013, at 9:30 AM
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