SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. - (KNEP) - ESU 13 will say goodbye to their longtime administrator after 11 years.
Dr. Jeff West grew up in the area and went to school at Scottsbluff High. He never thought he would come back and take on a position like this.
“I was a Superintendent and I had a friend of mine who was the Superintendent at Gering Public Schools at the time who had called me and just said ‘you know Jeff would you consider coming back to the Panhandle and looking at the administrative position at ESU-13?’”
The job description was intriguing to Dr. West and looking back on it, he stated it’s the best job he has ever had. In his mind he felt he had a responsibility to serve all 21 school districts in the area and that excited him.
“Whether we are in the teaching classroom area or administration, I think we do it because we want to make a difference and try to have some kind of positive influence on children, families and communities.”
Dr. West has only known Nebraska but will be taking all the knowledge and experience from the Panhandle east to Pennsylvania. He will take on a similar role but oversee roughly 1,200 employees compared to 180-190 here. With that said, he is up for the challenge.
“As long as you develop those relationships with your schools and listen and respond, I don’t think it really matters what state you’re in.”
It’s going to be hard for Dr. West to leave a staff that he thinks is one of the best ESU programs around the state as well as the board of directors. But, looking back on the many accomplishments he and the rest of the organization has done a few come to mind.
“Programming wise, our increased influence with early childhood education was important for us when we took on the head start, early head start grant.”
That program nearly doubled the size of the staff at ESU.
As he jokingly states he will take his Broncos and Nebraska gear with him, Dr. West states it will be different moving out of the state for the first time in his life. With that said, he and his wife are looking forward to it. While staying upbeat and positive, Dr. West said it will just take some time to get used to the different nuances from another state.
Dr. West knows the window of his last day is between April and Memorial Day. He knows for sure it won’t be anything past May 24th but it just all depends on when the board finds his replacement and he can help with the transition of a new administrator.
With all of his and the organization’s success, there is still one project that he wishes he could have finished while here.
“The one thing that we have been working on for a couple of years here has been the whole concept of a day treatment/ day school,” said Dr. West. “One of the issues that has been kind of a growing concern for our schools and for us out here has been the increase number of kids that are coming to our schools with behavioral health issues.”
Dr. West believes the area is missing on a key facility to address, so they have been working on a proposal with funding. The administration has just had a hard time finding that funding on a state level.
All in all, he feels comfortable knowing he helped lay the ground work for that kind of project and knows they will continue to work on it.
As the days of his tenure wind down in Nebraska, Dr. West remains grateful for the opportunity and having a board and a leadership team that allowed him to grow and gain experience.