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New job changes the game for teacher, coach

8/22/2013

By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN

dobrien@dailynews.net

Taking over for someone who has mentored you for five years certainly can have its benefits.

Stuart Moeckel will vouch for that after a whirlwind summer that saw him selected as principal of Victoria Junior-Senior High School in mid-July.

Moeckel, 32, takes over for John Linn, principal at VHS for five years who resigned this summer.

"I was familiar with the school, the staff," Moeckel said. "It's great for me."

The search committee decided Stuart was the right fit for Victoria, too. He surfaced to the top of the five people interviewed for the job, for which USD 432 Superintendent Linda Kenne said 15 applied.

Moeckel had continuity in his corner; he has taught and coached at VHS for the past five years and first was hired by Linn, Kenne and David Ottley, assistant superintendent and principal of Victoria Elementary.

Because of the late hire, Moeckel will hold onto his position as head boys' basketball coach this year before hiring his replacement. He did relinquish his duties as assistant for the football and track and field teams.

"I wanted to finish off with this group of seniors," Moeckel said of the Knights' basketball squad. "And I didn't want to leave them high and dry; there isn't anyone on staff who is a basketball coach."

He said he is excited for the new challenge, both personally and professionally.

Moeckel said he knew he wanted to move into administration someday. And this opportunity gives him a chance to stay close to both sets of his grandparents, who live in Hays, just 10 miles from Victoria. Moeckel also has a younger brother living in Hays, where his wife's parents live.

"I happened to marry a Hays girl, and we really like the area," Moeckel said of his wife, formerly Summer Karl. "We love Victoria; it's the kind of place you want your kids to go to school."

There will be Moeckels in the school system for a long time. Their oldest child, Brennan, 7, is a second-grader; Braxton, 6, is in kindergarten; and 2-year-old Brantley soon will be starting preschool. And Mom is a teacher in the elementary school.

"It'll be a little different, won't be as many practices," Moeckel said of his change of schedules along with switching duties. "There will be a lot of supervisions (of activities). But we went to all the activities anyway, so we'll still be" together as a family.  

"It's a great place to be. A great small-town atmosphere, where the community really supports the school. And one of the things I like the most is that our parents play an integral part of our school."