RAYMOND – Raymond Central Public School’s new assistant high school principal and activities director has a lifetime of experience that has readied him for the unique challenges of educational administration.
Brian Gralheer is the second half of the new administration at Raymond Central. He will be joining new Principal Allison Stansberry this school year.
The son of a farmer and a teacher in Wisner, Gralheer said that rural education has always been a large part of his life. As a high schooler at Wisner-Pilger, Gralheer was a multi-sport athlete who stayed active at school beyond just athletics.
“When it was football season, I played football. When it was basketball season, I played basketball. When track season came, I ran track,” Gralheer said.
Football led Gralheer to the University of Nebraska-Omaha. In 2010, Gralheer was a member of the final football team UNO would ever field, though not in the way he had planned.
As he headed toward his senior season with the Mavericks, Gralheer was injured and transitioned to a student coach position. He said it was his first real-world exposure to coaching and education. Two fields he said he finds synonymous with each other.
After graduation from UNO with his Bachelor’s in Secondary Science and Physical Education, Gralheer took a job teaching and coaching football at Douglas County West in Valley.
Gralheer said his first stop at DC West was also his first taste of administration.
“I’m a ‘yes’ man,” Gralheer said. “When I was asked if I could do something, I tried to always say ‘yes.’”
That attitude led him to helping first-year teachers handle the demands of workloads expected of them and how to prepare for year-in, year-out assessments.
The next stop for Gralheer was just east in Elkhorn. Gralheer took over as a teacher at Elkhorn Ridge Middle School and an assistant football coach at Elkhorn South High School.
As the 2018-2019 school year came to a close, Greg Wilmes decided to step down from the activities director position to focus on teaching at Raymond Central and Gralheer was hired.
A multi-activity student himself, Grahleer knows that a Class C-1 school like Raymond Central faces unique challenges. One of those challenges is the relatively new idea of specialization.
“We can’t afford to have kids just be football players,” Gralheer said, “it’s a numbers game. We need them to play basketball, volleyball, track and participate in quiz bowl and debate.”
Gralheer said his plan for getting students to participate is simple, get people in the stands.
“It’s easier to get kids to try things when they’re being supported,” Gralheer said.
Raymond Central’s locale and consolidated make-up could lead to some problems with a town really supporting the school. He said despite the school not really having an “anchor town,” the situation he has walked into has been a good one.
“There’s a lot of good things already happening between those four walls,” Gralheer said.
Getting students involved is something Gralheer believes is of paramount importance for the high school experience. It is something he saw first-hand in his time as a student.
“Studies have repeatedly shown that students involved in activities make better students and better citizens,” he said. “It made me take school more seriously, because I didn’t want to be held out. I wanted to play.”
If you would like to meet the new administration at Raymond Central, the district is holding a meet and greet, Aug. 4. The event will run from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Pine Crest Farms Bed and Breakfast on County Road A.