After eight years as the Hamburg Area Middle School principal and nine years with the district, Kenneth Buck is ready for a change. As of July 1, he is now the middle school principal for the Conrad Weiser School District.
“There have been some opportunities presented through Conrad Weiser that can re-energize me,” said Buck. “It’s time for a change.”
Though he is moving on from Hamburg, Buck looks back at his time with the district with a great amount of pride.
“I’m very proud that in the eight years I’ve been here, we’ve gone from the second lowest scores on the state testing to the fifth highest middle school in the county,” he said. “That’s a badge of honor I wear. That improvement has been incredible.”
Buck credits the staff for the success of the students and has been impressed with the support of outside the box education. He explained that the middle school is very focused on teams and a part of teaming is doing interdisciplinary units such as writing paragraphs in art class.
Buck recalled a instance this year that really impressed him in which the teachers took a routine field trip and made it personal for the students. During the Washington, D.C., field trip the seventh grade students visit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and take a moment to look at the names on the wall. Instead of just reading the names and moving on, prior to the trip the students picked a name of a soldier on the wall and researched the family history and life of that soldier. They then wrote a letter to that soldier and left the letter by the name on the wall. Then the students either had to get a rubbing of that soldier’s name or take a picture of them with the name. Once the field trip was over, the students presented a powerpoint to their class on that soldier.
“I tear up every time I talk about it,” said Buck. “I credit that to this staff to come up with those kinds of meaningful projects.”
As a principal and as a teacher before that starting in 1991, Buck has always been all about the kids and wanting to help them be successful as well as good citizens in the community. The impact on the lives of the students under his care can be seen when he is out at various events in the community and the students are excited to go over and speak with their principal. Just as the students have embraced Buck and his wife, Susan, so has Hamburg.
“This is really a good place. It’s a good community. It’s a very giving community,” he said. “August of 2007, when I had the house fire, this community was incredible. The support of this community was just unbelievable. And that’s when I learned what it truly means to be a Hawk. The community really embraced Susan and I through that mess.”
He continued, “So that makes the decision to move on even more difficult.”
Though he is moving on and ending his time at Hamburg, Buck commented that he is not leaving on a negative note and has enjoyed his time first at the high school for one year and then at the middle school for the last eight years.
“It’s going to be weird to be a Scout instead of a Hawk,” said Buck on the transition from school districts.
Buck is looking forward to the new opportunities ahead of him, but will always keep a piece of Hamburg with him and will certainly still be considered a Hawk to students and residents of Hamburg.