Interim principal announces plans to stay for another year


Cameron Bohmann

Loud and Proud – Ready for the rivalry football game, Principal Cynthia Johnson flashes a smile at the Lawrence High vs. Free State City Showdown on Sept. 27.

By Zora Lotton-Barker, News Editor

Dr. Cynthia Johnson will stay on as the interim principal of Lawrence High for another year, a district press release sent to staff and parents on Nov. 1 confirmed.

She was initially named interim principal after former principal Dr. Mathew Brungardt declared that he would be leaving to become principal at Salina Central.

Students and staff alike have remarked on the large impact on the atmosphere and inner workings of Lawrence High that Dr. Johnson has had in the short time that she has been here.

Superintendent Anthoney Lewis praised her for those changes in a press release sent to the public.

“Our board members, district administrators, and I have been receiving lots of positive feedback from students, staff and parents about Dr. Johnson’s leadership,” Lewis said. “Our initial look at Lawrence High’s school climate data shows positive results that are a cause for celebration. In order to keep that momentum going and provide continuity through the completion of construction, I am glad that ‘Mama J’ is happy here and has agreed to stay.”

Lawrence High staff and students said they are looking forward to another year with Dr. Johnson.

Andrew Bricker, a science teacher at LHS, thinks that the changes she’s made have been good for the school.

“I’m excited that Dr. Johnson is staying for another year,” he said. “She’s helped spark a lot of positive changes, and I think we need her here to keep us on that track.”

Junior Eila Deavours is excited to see the changes Dr. Johnson will make with her extra time at Lawrence High.

“Dr. Johnson has already implemented many changes in order to make the school a more positive environment,” she said. “I’m sure that she will continue to be involved and improve the school in the next two years.”

Perrin Goulter, a freshman, said the school has improved from Dr. Johnson’s presence.

“Having Dr. Johnson stay another year is exciting, because I think she does a good job at making the school a better place to attend,” he said.

The press release is concluded with a quote from Dr. Johnson.

“I’m honored to continue serving the LHS Chesty Lion students, families, faculty, and staff,” she said. “I will continue to work with all stakeholders. Together, we have the POWER to lift each student to greatness.”

Junior Abby Lingwall said that consideration is the most important trait for a principal to have.

“I think the most important trait for a principal to have is a genuine consideration for the well-being of their students — and reflecting that consideration in their actions,” she said. “I think a principal should be assertive, passionate about the school and what they do, and have a well-rounded plan for how they want to improve on the school during their time”

Sophomore Kate O’keefe agrees with Lingwall, and wants an administrator that cares about the students.

“I think caring about students is a very important trait for a principal to have,” she said. “Not only should they say they care, but I think their actions should reflect that and students should feel that they care.”

Lingwall is appreciative of the engagement that Dr. Johnson has portrayed and the enthusiasm she has shown.

“I appreciate that Dr. Johnson makes it known that she cares about us; even if not everyone agrees with all the new policies, I believe that she is trying to make an overall positive change to LHS,” Lingwall said.

Dr. Johnson says that her biggest accomplishment at Lawrence High has been building relationships with students and staff.

“The thing I am most proud of is building relationships with students, and the community, and staff. When you have a strong foundation in relationships everything else follows, but if you don’t have a foundation in relationships, nothing is possible. You start seeing that things fall apart. I think that is something that is important to me. It is something that I focus on every single day. It is an everyday thing.”

Dr. Johnson has done several things to show her support for Lawrence High students including going to athletic team dinners, accompanying ROAR on their trip to Kansas City, enforcing rules about lunch and before and after school use of the building, greeting students in the hallways, and talking to kids about how their days are going.

Johnson believes that communication is the key to success when dealing with challenges like construction.

“I think one of the first things that I can do is be completely transparent, and communication is definitely the key to ensuring that complete transparency is there,” she said. Keeping people informed upfront rather than later, I think is very important. Right now we are closing out phase one.”

Johnson has been communicating with teachers who will be moved in the upcoming phase of construction so that they are prepared for the move.

I may be in an interim principal, but I’m not doing interim work”

— Cynthia Johnson, Interim Principal

“We’ve already met with teachers to prepare for phase two and we are communicating with them,” Johnson said. “We also gave them a map so they will know where everything is. We went through a walk-through, not with teachers, but with administration so that we can have eyes on all of the new spaces. Our next round, for phase two, will be take teachers in so that they can see their new spaces and see exactly where they want their white board to be, and exactly where they want their projector to be. We want everything to be in place and working before people move in.”

The opportunity to serve another year as interim principal has expanded Dr. Johnson’s goals for the school.

“It’s added to my goals and the plan that I have for my life,” she said. “I believe that things happen for a reason. I didn’t know that I was going to be at Lawrence High school, but I am glad to be here and I am excited to be here. I am excited to be able to lead the school in an interim way, but I always say ‘I may be in an interim principal, but I’m not doing interim work.”