David Giesen found his place in the officeDavid Giesen is kind of an accidental administrator. The new assistant principal at Robert Boeckman Middle School was happy as a teacher ...
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
David Giesen is kind of an accidental administrator.
The new assistant principal at Robert Boeckman Middle School was happy as a teacher — he spent 6 1/2 years teaching fifth grade and another three teaching sixth grade — but when his district in New Prague needed someone to fill in for a principal who had been chosen to oversee some school construction projects administrators convinced him to take the job for the short term. But then a funny thing happened: Giesen loved the work. He liked being able to work with more than just one class or students, and he liked working with teachers to make the education experience better for everyone.
Now Giesen, a New Prague native who received his administrator’s degree in July, is in Farmington. Not quite three weeks into his new job, he’s settling in and getting excited for the arrival of students Sept. 8.
What was it that got you into education?
I think I just enjoyed working with kids. Kids in general. I’ve worked with third grade all the way up through eighth grade. I coached (football) for nine years, so I worked with high school kids. It’s really run a wide course of different.
When did you know you wanted to be a teacher?
I actually had a great experience in high school. I was able to take a period a day and volunteer at the elementary school in New Prague. At that point, I knew it was what I wanted to do. I worked in a third grade classroom, then had the pleasure of working with that same teacher later on when I got hired by New Prague. It was nice to come full circle and be able to have that experience.
What have you liked most about being in education?
I think seeing the impact you can make on the life of a child or a student, an athlete. Seeing them grow and having them come back. I’ve been fortunate enough to have kids come back and thank me for different things I’ve done and said. Just seeing that impact, to me it’s about as rewarding as you can get. That, to me, I guess kind of just backs up or proves what we’re doing in education. What teachers or leaders are doing is the right thing.
Is there an experience that comes to mind where you really felt like you made an impact on a student?
I don’t know if I can pick one out. One of the things that I especially enjoy or appreciate is just being able to see those kids as they move on and they don’t forget you. They come back and say ‘Thank you. Thank you for doing what you did. Helping me out.’ That’s why we do what we do. That’s the most rewarding part.
Did you know from the start you wanted to be in administration eventually, or did that develop as you went along?
It was really nothing I had even had in my radar until I had ... the dean of students experience where it was going to be something that did not last long. When I was in New Prague we were expanding. We were building some new elementary buildings, so they pulled a principal and had that principal just work with the general contractor and really get the buildings going. So they had to pull someone to fill her role as supervisor and I wasn’t interested. I more or less had to be persuaded into it and once I started I just saw it was something I enjoyed doing. Working with not just a classroom of kids but getting to work with all of them in general and getting to work with teachers across the board and try to have a positive impact.
Why weren’t you interested?
I just didn’t think it was something for me. I hadn’t really thought about it to that point. I was very involved, very focused on athletics, on coaching. I figured that was something I wanted to do and knew it would be tough to do both if I were to go an administrative route. It was nothing I had really considered, but once I had the taste I enjoyed the experience and knew that was something I wanted to pursue.
Do you feel like you make any less impact on the students or just a different kind of impact?
I think different. Just the fact that you get to see and work with and interact with so many more kids and the teachers as well. Don’t get me wrong, I love what I was doing in the classroom, but this to me was totally different. It was a different experience that I didn’t think I would enjoy as much as I did. So that was the biggest thing for me.
What is it about the middle school level you like?
You never really know what you’re going to get from the kids. They’re always changing. There’s probably more change going on during this three, four years than any other time of their life. And to be able to be a part of that is pretty exciting.
It can be a challenging place to be.
Absolutely. I think that’s part of the dynamic, though. These kids are going through changes and they need good people around them. They need a good support system. Again, going back to what’s great about Farmington, in the 2 1/2 weeks I’ve been here I can tell there are good people here. There’s people that care about kids. To me, that’s exciting. That’s going to make, hopefully, my job a little easier. It’s something we’re all in together.
How did you end up in Farmington?
A lot of luck and some good opportunity. I just recently graduated, finished up my administration degree in July and I had heard from a friend, a former neighbor that this was going to be an opening.... I was very interested. It was not far away from New Prague, where we live. I knew the commute would be reasonable. I liked the fact Farmington was a growing district and as I did my research there was a lot to like about what was going on here. There’s a lot of good things in place as far as education goes.
What’s the experience been like so far?
Outstanding. Everybody’s been extremely welcoming and they’ve just been great with me, showing me the ropes and really being patient with all the things that come with a new job.