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Mason named new Wasmer Elementary principal

Current Knickrehm Elementary principal Tina Mason has been hired as principal at Wasmer Elementary. Mason will replace Betty Desaire, who is retiring at the end of this school year.

"We are excited to announce Tina Mason will be moving to Wasmer Elementary," said Grand Island Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Winter. "She has done an outstanding job at Knickrehm Elementary. Her proven abilities to lead an elementary staff and cultivate relationships with students and parents will help continue the excellence at Wasmer."

Under Desaire's leadership, Wasmer was named a national Title I School of Distinction last year. The school has received much attention across the state and the entire nation.

"I am very excited to join a very strong education team," Mason said. "Mrs. Desaire and the staff have implemented wonderful strategies to ensure student success and high achievement. What is done on a daily basis is a TEAM effort. My role will be to keep the momentum going and continue to strive for high standards and rigor at Wasmer."

Mason has been with Grand Island Public Schools for 19 years. She spent two years in Schuyler, Nebraska, as a SPED/science teacher before coming to GIPS. She has taught resource, kindergarten and first grade at Shoemaker, Engleman, Starr and Gates elementary schools. She was the district literacy coach in 2007-2008 before becoming the assistant principal at Dodge Elementary, where she stayed until being named Knickrehm principal in 2011.

Mason earned two master's degrees from Doane College: Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in 2003 and Master of Education in Educational Leadership in 2006.

"While I am sad to leave Knickrehm, I am proud of the positive direction the students and staff are heading," Mason said. "Knickrehm is a great place and I will miss the students, the staff and the families. We have worked very hard on building relationships and improving everyday teaching strategies with student achievement in mind."

Wasmer currently has 366 students, grades kindergarten through five. Knickrehm has 255 students in the same grades. The two schools are similar in demographics. Wasmer has 85 percent of students receiving free or reduced meals, while Knickrehm has 84 percent. Wasmer has 39 percent of students enrolled in English Language Learners program, while Knickrehm has 42 percent.

"I have worked with Tina as a classroom teacher, literacy coach and school principal. She is a highly effective leader who puts students in the forefront each day," said Deb Harder, GIPS director of teaching and learning - elementary. "Her skills in the areas of curriculum, instruction, assessment, school improvement and leadership are exceptional."

The search for Mason's replacement at Knickrehm is underway.

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