Grand Island Public Schools
123 South Webb Road
Grand Island, NE 68802
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GIPS names Knickrehm, Stolley Park principals, Dodge assistant principal


Grand Island Public Schools has named two principals and an assistant principal. Kelly Klanecky is the new Knickrehm Elementary principal, Elizabeth Lamken is the new Stolley Park principal and Tara Retzlaff is the new Dodge assistant principal. All three were already employed by GIPS.

"We are fortunate to be able to find such quality educators within our district ready to take this next leadership role," said Dr. Robert Winter, GIPS Superintendent of Schools. "Parents at these three schools will be pleased with the selections. Each brings a dynamic professional background well-suited to enhance the educational journey of our students."

Klanecky will fill the position vacated by Tina Mason, who is moving from Knickrehm to Wasmer Elementary this fall.

"When I began my career in education, I knew I wanted to pursue a leadership role and felt the principal position offers the best opportunity to positively impact an entire school," Klanecky said. "I am excited about meeting the students and their families and working with the Knickrehm team to increase student learning."

Klanecky has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Nebraska Lincoln and a Master's in School Administration from the University of Nebraska Kearney. She has nine years of teaching experience, including eight at West Lawn Elementary teaching second and fifth grades and as a learning facilitator.

Lamken fills the position at Stolley Park vacated by Steve Retzlaff, who will be an elementary principal in a neighboring district.

"I feel very honored to be named principal of Stolley Park Elementary," Lamken said. "I am impressed with the dedicated staff, supportive community and great school spirit. I know the teachers and staff are committed to helping students achieve their highest potential. I look forward to getting to know the students, staff and parents and working together in the continued development of an exceptional school."

Lamken has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from Northwest Missouri State University and two Master's of Education degrees from Doane College, one in Curriculum and Instruction and one in Educational Leadership.

Lamken spent five years teaching kindergarten and first grade at Howard Elementary before becoming the learning facilitator at Jefferson Elementary the last three years. She also taught second grade for three years in Kansas City, Missouri, before coming to GIPS.

Tara Retzlaff is taking on both the assistant principal and a reading specialist positions at Dodge Elementary. Both are half-time jobs at the school. Because of the enrollment at Dodge, the assistant position is being brought back. It has not been an active position since 2011.

"I am beyond excited to join the team at Dodge Elementary," Retzlaff said. "I have the highest respect for principal Carrie Kolar and the staff who are doing great things for their students' academic achievement. I feel so fortunate that I have the opportunity to be a part of their team and am looking forward to getting started."

Retzlaff has a Bachelor of Arts in Education from Kearney State College, an Education Specialist Degree in School Psychology from UNK and a Master's of Education in Education Leadership from Doane College.

Retzlaff worked as a special education teacher for seven years in Central Nebraska, spending time at Osceola, Palmer and 1-R schools. She has spent the last 13 years with Central Nebraska Support Services Program (CNSSP) serving multiple GIPS students at various schools as a school psychologist and education consultant.

"The talented group of new leaders offers a lot of excitement for the coming school year," Winter said. "Each of these three new administrators are focused on student achievement and building positive relationships with parents. They join strong staffs with the same goals."

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