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GIPS hires Josué Covarrubias as Barr Middle School principal

Grand Island Public Schools has hired Josué Covarrubias to be the next Barr Middle School principal. Covarrubias is currently the dean of students at South Sioux City Middle School.

“Mr. Covarrubias brings the qualifications we are looking for to lead a middle school,” said GIPS Superintendent Dr. Tawana Grover. “We are excited about his focus on student achievement, creating relationships and collaborating with staff to help Barr Middle School reach the next level of success.”

Covarrubias was drawn to the school for a number of factors, including diversity and reputation.

“What excites me the most about Barr Middle School is its diversity,” he said. “The varying cultures and backgrounds of the students is something to be proud of and needs to be celebrated. Barr is in the perfect spot in its progress to become a high-achieving building focused on strong relationships and student growth.”

He was also familiar with the district’s history of innovating on behalf of students.

“Growing up in Nebraska and becoming an educator in this state you grow up learning about other districts that are doing amazing things,” Covarrubias said. “Grand Island has always been in that conversation. GIPS has established itself as a progressive district focused on growth and achievement. The efforts of this district are known throughout the state and I was immediately drawn to this.”

GIPS is implementing staff professional learning communities at all levels to help with development and understanding of standards and curriculum. Covarrubias has experience with similar PLCs in his past.

“Working in a district that has gone through the process of implementing PLCs and standards-based education the last seven years has truly prepared me to lead a building going through that same implementation,” he said. “I wholeheartedly believe in teacher collaboration to help students succeed. I plan to help lead this building into these productive and collaborative efforts.”

Covarrubias has been with South Sioux City Community Schools since earning his teaching degree from University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2008, first as a high school Spanish teacher and coach, then as dean of students at the high school for a year before taking his current position in 2016.

“Another factor that has prepared me to lead this building is my history as a Hispanic immigrant in Nebraska,” Covarrubias said. “My parents brought my sister, brother and I to the U.S. when I was seven years old. I grew up in Nebraska as an ELL student and son of immigrant parents working in meat packing companies to help us live the American Dream. My family believed education was the road to success. I followed that road and it led me here. I want to help other kids find that road and follow it to success.”

He follows Brian Kort, who moved on from Barr principal to lead the district’s recruiting efforts.

“Mr. Covarrubias has the experience to take on this role and we are confident he is the best candidate for the job,” said Dr. Toni Palmer, GIPS Chief Leadership and Development Officer. “We were all impressed with his understanding of district goals and high expectations for staff and student achievement. He will be a great leader for Barr Middle School.”

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