Randy Butcher greets a student who says, “excuse me,” as they pass in a narrow hallway at Grandview Elementary. Counselor at the school for five years, Butcher became the principal this past fall. His familiarity with students, staff and parents as well as previous experience in administration has been asset over last few months.
The Alliance Public Schools Board of Education selected Butcher in October from a group of applicants. Eric Oestman started the academic year as principal followed by Rita Moravek, the district’s director of instructional services, in an interim capacity.
“(I was) happy to get the principal position,” Butcher said.
This is his fifth year with APS. Over the past two decades Butcher has been superintendent of schools at Bridgeport and worked with the Nebraska as a Special Education consultant for 12 years prior to serving as an Educational Service Unit (ESU) administrator and superintendent. In his spare time Butcher sings with the Sugar Valley Singers, a barber shop group; like to see his grandchildren, play a little golf and take in ball games in Alliance.
Butcher appreciates time spent working with Steve Folchert, principal at the school until last year. Folchert now has the same position across town at Emerson Elementary following an administrative shift the school board implemented for 2018-19. “He (Folchert) shared with me, I shared with him,” Butcher said.
“I think it’s a big advantage,” Butcher agreed regarding his time as a school counselor. “I can have good conversation with students … they can talk to me well because of our past relationship.”
Despite his history Butcher has still had to adjust to duties he did not have before. He highlighted support from Moravek and APS Instructional Coach Brenda Mills. Also, he said, Ranee Anthony from the Special Education department is working at Grandview and has provided “a lot of good support. “As an administrative team we work well together,” Butcher said. “Our interest is the kids, whatever we can do to work well with the students.”
Academic improvement is a key objective. Butcher is looking at data and test scores and considering “how we can work with students” on academics in addition to behavior issues. “To get students to a higher level we really need to know what their needs are,” he said.
Teachers and staff have aided with administrative changes. Butcher specified the commitment if the school’s teachers and how many of them work as a team.
Asked about long-term plans in the job, Butcher said, “I think where I’m at right now is a good fit and I enjoy it. … I think I can improve the school and help students get to a higher level. I enjoy being here. There are good days and bad days, but the good outweighs anything.”