Archive for Thursday, November 17, 2005

Longtime LHS teacher to leave district for KNEA position

November 17, 2005

A longtime Lansing High School teacher is leaving the district to become a professional staff member with the Kansas National Education Association.

History teacher Kevin Riemann will leave LHS on Nov. 30 to assume his new position as UniServ director with the KNEA in Lindsborg.

For three years, Riemann has been a member of the board of directors of KNEA. Now, he will work for KNEA as a teachers' advocate, providing teachers with tools and training to help them negotiate their contracts.

"It's kind of a way to really help teachers," Riemann said.

He will serve teachers in an 11-county area, encompassing Jewell, Republic, Mitchell, Cloud, Lincoln, Ottawa, Ellsworth, Saline, Dickinson, Rice and McPherson counties.

Riemann, who has taught at LHS for 17 years, is a member of the Lansing Education Association and has taken part in negotiations during a span of about 10 years, he said.

Though he said he generally didn't like change, Riemann said that after 19 years of teaching, "something needs to happen for professional growth." His new job will be a way to stay in education while still receiving a promotion to a leadership position, he said.

The application process for the job was a long one, Riemann said.

He said he applied this summer and was offered the job Nov. 9. Because the position was vacant for so long the KNEA was eager to have him start as soon as possible, he said. Plus, Riemann said, it will be best for him to jump into the new job in December to "get my feet wet before the busy season starts" with January teacher negotiations.

Despite the excitement of his new job, Riemann said it was important for him to finish the term strong with his students so that they would be prepared for the finals in the American history, contemporary American history and sociology classes he teaches.

Riemann said he had notified schools superintendent Randal Bagby when he applied for the job and had kept the district updated on his status. The district is looking for a substitute to begin Dec. 1 and a replacement teacher to begin in January.

One of the hardest parts about leaving his job, Riemann said, was telling his students. He said he explained that his new job was an alternative to going into school administration.

"I told my students I couldn't be a principal because I'd have to be mean to kids," he said.

At LHS, Riemann is a assistant football and track coach and former sponsor of the Leadership group. Because his new job will take up many nights and weekends, Riemann said he wouldn't be able to coach anymore.

"It's like quitting cold turkey," he said. "It'll be weird watching sporting events from the stands."

Riemann said the first months of his new job would consist of training and traveling, so his family will stay in Lansing until the end of the school year. At that time, his wife, Kelly Riemann, a science teacher at Lansing Middle School, and his two youngest children will join him in Lindsborg.

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