By JESSICA CRAWFORD
• Daily Leader
USD No. 480 has created a new position at central office. Paul Larkin, former principal at Augusta High School, has been selected as the man for the the position of director of Human resources and public relations.
“This position is a new position to the district,” Larkin said. “Basically, I will be administrator, potentially, over anything that could do with human resources – anything to do with hiring to evaluations to even things that might be involved with fringe benefits, workers compensation and anything under the sun.
“Right now, a lot of my position involves working with principals on interviews trying to get last minute hiring done and that kind of thing,” he explained. “I will work with the other directors and supervisors in looking at job descriptions, evaluation process and anything related to personnel ,basically. I will work with both classified and certified employees, and potentially administrative positions as well.”
Larkin said the public relations aspect of his position is a bit more difficult to explain.
“The public relations side is a little harder to grasp onto,” he said. “The public relations side isn’t so formal at that level. I have just been to work one week now and Mr. Stout was on vacation the entire time. So, we haven’t really laid out a lot of those responsibilities. But, I know that one of his goals is really back to school time. He wants a lot of positive things for the school district by working with the newspapers and the radio. He thinks maybe the district hasn’t taken advantage of it to the fullest extent possible.”
Larkin will also be working very closely with building principals in an effort to solve problems at the school level rather than bringing issues straight to the central office.
“I think one of the things that Lance wanted out of me as well is to try to ease some of the load off of the deputy superintendent as far as parental concerns on the building level,” he said. “I know that the main business of school is student achievement. The people at the top need to devote time to making sure those things are at the front for all of the business administrators.”
Larkin, a seasoned educator, has roots in south central Kansas.
“I came here from Augusta, I was a building principal at the high school for eight years,” he said. “Prior to that, I was an assistant principal for five years. Prior to that, I was teacher and a coach for five years in Mason City, Iowa.
“I went to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln,” he continued. “I grew up on a farm in south central Kansas. My wife and children are still in Augusta right now. We are trying to sell our home now, and they will be joining me around the first week of August.”
Larkin is looking forward to his family settling into USD 480 as well.
“My son, Nolan, will be in ninth grade at the high school and my daughter, Megan, will be a seventh grader at West Middle School,” he said. “They are both very involved in activities, they are very sports minded. My son sings in the choir, plays football, basketball and runs track. My daughter plays volleyball, basketball and track or softball, depending on what’s going on. My wife, Mary, will teach first grade at Washington Elementary. She has been a first grade teacher in Augusta as well.”
Although Larkin is aware of the fact there is much to learn regarding his, as well as the district’s, new position, he said he is excited to be a part of it.
“I am very excited to join the school district,” he said. “Looking for a central office move was a goal of mine. I have aspirations of being a superintendent some day.
“The people that I have met here have been very friendly and very helpful,” he concluded. “It just seems like a very good district. We definitely have some challenges, but it seems like their hearts are in the right place, and they are working for their kids. I am excited to be part of that team.”