New Principals Up for the Challenge in GI


School staff makes a final safety check before the first day of school at Stolley Park Elementary in Grand Island.

New principal Elizabeth Lamken wants everything to go smoothly, but the problems don't end in the parking lot.

"There are definitely some challenges to a building like this," she said.

It's one of seven Grand Island schools included in the $70 million bond issue.

Lamken said, "We have some narrow walkways that are hallways and storage as well. As far as students getting through with supplies or teachers with computer carts, it creates quite a challenge."

If the bond issue passes, it would mean a new school at this site, where they use some rooms built more than a century ago.

Lamken said, "Our custodial staff works extremely hard to maintain a building that has some aging issues."

Lamken grew up in Nebraska, but began her teaching career in Kansas City, and has been in Grand Island several years.

"Principal was always in that goals and dreams," she said.

She's joined by some new teachers who have those first day of school jitters.

Tyler Lucas was prepping his classroom at Stolley Park.

"Pretty anxious, we'll see how tomorrow morning is. Might be a little nervous," he said.

Lamken grew up in a house with strong mentors. Her father is Grand Island Police Chief Steve Lamken, and her mother is a teacher too.

She also credits the school district for developing leadership. Many of the district's principals have come from Grand Island classrooms.

She said, "A new administrative role is a unique position, especially with the issues facing Stolley Park and everyone from parents and staff to district leadership has been extremely supportive."

Stolley Park school is on the busy street of the same name. The city recently banned parking on either side of the street. Factor in the small parking lot, and the first day could be a challenge.