By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – Michael Teahon understands as well as anyone the impact school administrators have on education.
He’s been one for 25 years, including the past 18 as superintendent at Gothenburg Public Schools.
Administrators, he said, establish the culture within a school, serve as instructional leaders and support the teachers who work with students on a daily basis.
“It’s critical that we develop leaders who can go out and take on that challenge, because it is important,” he said.
Teahon, who has 34 years of experience as an educator, is at the forefront of this development process as the new chair of the educational administration department at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. The UNK alumnus replaces Dick Meyer, who retired earlier this year.
Teahon, a central Nebraska native who grew up near Arnold, is passionate about education. He’s been a math and history teacher, secondary principal and superintendent, serving in that capacity for two years at Amherst Public School before making the move to Gothenburg.
“Connecting with students is an amazing experience,” he said. “We have a chance every day to make a difference in someone’s life, and that’s always been important to me.”
The move to UNK department chair is something he’s well-prepared for.
Teahon has been an adjunct professor in the educational administration department since 2013 and served on the department’s advisory council for more than a decade.
“I’ve enjoyed that process,” he said. “It allowed me to get to know people who want to go into administration from throughout the state and throughout the country.”
That’s one of the strengths of UNK’s educational administration program. Since it’s entirely online, the program is accessible for any educator looking to make the jump to administrator, regardless of where they live and work.
About half the state’s school administrators come through UNK.
“We have a reputation of producing good administrators,” Teahon said.
Still, he knows there’s always room for improvement. Teahon is working with his colleagues in the College of Education to identify the program’s strengths, challenges and opportunities, and set goals to ensure UNK graduates continue to make an impact in the schools and communities they serve.
“I truly believe we have an opportunity at UNK and in the educational administration department to provide great leaders who can do great things in schools, and I think that has to be our mission,” he said.
Teahon has held leadership positions with the Nebraska Council of School Administrators, Nebraska Association of School Administrators and Gothenburg Economic Development Board of Directors and is a member of the Greater Nebraska Superintendents Association, Gothenburg Rotary Club and American Association of School Administrators.
He was recently named the 2018-19 Superintendent of the Year by the Nebraska Association of School Administrators.
Teahon will continue serving as superintendent at Gothenburg Public Schools for the current academic year while working in his new role at UNK, a busy schedule he’s looking forward to tackling.
“We all have a purpose in life, and I think one of my purposes is to work with people and develop school leaders,” Teahon said.
Title: UNK Department of Educational Administration chair
Education: Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education, mathematics and history, Kearney State College, 1985; Master of Arts in Educational Administration, 7-12 principal, UNK, 1994; Education Specialist, superintendent, UNK, 1999; endorsement in educational administration, K-6 principal, UNK, 1999; assessment endorsement, leadership for learning cohort, UNL, 2008; Doctor of Education, educational administration, UNL, 2012.
Work experience: Math/history teacher and coach, Garden County High School in Oshkosh, 1985-92; Math/history teacher and coach, Trumbull High School, 1992-94; Secondary principal, Sandhills Public Schools in Dunning, 1994-99; Superintendent, Amherst Public School, 1999-2001; Superintendent, Gothenburg Public Schools, 2001-present; Adjunct professor, UNK Department of Educational Administration, 2013-present.
Family: Wife, Kelli; children, Heather and John Blecha of Omaha and granddaughters Stella and Vivienne, Joel and Joslyn Teahon of North Platte and grandson Braxton, Heidi Teahon of Omaha and Jaci Teahon of Gothenburg.