R-2 hires Haslag as new BHS principal

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 5/20/20

The Maries County R-2 Board of Education on May 14 officially hired Garrett Haslag of Osage County to be the Belle High School (BHS) principal, replacing soon-to-be-former administrator Lea …

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R-2 hires Haslag as new BHS principal

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The Maries County R-2 Board of Education on May 14 officially hired Garrett Haslag of Osage County to be the Belle High School (BHS) principal, replacing soon-to-be-former administrator Lea Hickerson.

The William Woods University graduate and former baseball player said he had a semi-successful college baseball career while acquiring his degree in physical education, health, and later in administration.

“I thought I could impact students in and the classroom and with coaching,” he said. “I have taught physical education and health at the junior high level at Eugene for the last four years.”

Lately, he has been trying harder to put his 7-12 grade building administration degree to use. When he started applying for positions, he knew for sure he wanted a rural school district.

“I think Belle will be an outstanding fit,” Haslag said.

BHS has had two administrators since 2016, but Haslag has made it clear, both in his interview with the board and as a new administrator that he plans to stay on for a while.

“Belle is close to home,” he said. “I plan to be here a very long time. The school board and the community, in general, seems to be a very good fit for me.”

Haslag said he tends to set narrow-minded goals when he is getting to know a district.

“I want to start with a few goals and expand on the ideas,” Haslag said. “First I am big on building relationships — I want to build relationships with the buildings, staff, students and the community.”

From there, Haslag said he wants to create a positive and welcoming atmosphere for all students, whatever the learning culture is.

“I want to start by diversifying how we teach kids and give them different teaching strategies — as many as we can,” he said. “Something I want to bring to the staff is to have the most knowledge as possible, to have the best learning opportunities as possible. I want to work with staff and educators on different instructions, direct, cooperative and inquiry.”

Basically any strategy that gives and allows students the opportunity to learn. Types of programs could include an expansion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

“STEM is a great program and wonderful for the kids,” Haslag said. “Around here it is not specific. Increase the collaboration between the buildings and more response to intervention (RTI) to kids who are struggling. They don’t have a strong program in place and we want to focus on that in the coming years.”

The new administrator signed his contract on Tuesday, May 14, and is scheduled to start on July 1.

“I am super excited and think this is an outstanding fit,” he said. “I can’t wait to jump into the community and the school. I do plan on being here a long time and I am here to commit to the school and kids and provide the best quality education we can here in Maries County.”

Haslag lives on his farm in Osage County with his wife Brittany, who works for the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in Columbia.

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