Archive for Thursday, July 17, 2003

New BLHS principal returns home

July 17, 2003

Foregoing the sunny skies of California for the Kansas plains, new Basehor-Linwood High School principal Steve Blankenship has returned to his native land.

Blankenship, 36, Pratt, replaces Bill Hatfield as the new principal at BLHS. Earlier this summer, the Basehor-Linwood School Board promoted Hatfield to the assistant superintendent's post, thus creating the vacancy at BLHS.

Blankenship, a graduate of Fort Hays State and later California State Bernadino, is a former teacher, middle school and high school principal in California.

He said he was immediately impressed by the facilities BLHS had to offer when he interviewed for the position months ago.

"I love it," Blankenship said. "It's a beautiful school. When I took a tour I was in awe of how nice it looked."

Blankenship brings a team-oriented philosophy to his position, the new principal said.

"I look at it like a team," he said. "I have the coaches (the teaching staff) and the students."

Blankenship recently moved his wife and two children into the school district.

While he hasn't become fully acquainted with the new school as of yet, he said improving student scores on state assessments would be a high priority of his administration.

"It's still early for me to look at making any major changes," Blankenship said. "But we'll definitely need to look at results of state testing.

"There's always room for improvement. Our main focus is improving in testing each year," he added.

Blankenship said returning to his native state provides an opportunity to be closer to family members in Pratt and Illinois while working in a quality school district.

His contract with the school district is renewable each year. However, Blankenship said he looks forward to serving a long tenure in Basehor-Linwood.

"Hopefully, I'll be here a lot longer than that," he said. "I have two children, one's 2 and one's 6 and hopefully I'll be around to see them graduate."

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