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Meister prepared for year two as North Tama secondary principal

August 30, 2019
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Traer Star-Clipper

Andrew Meister had heard much about North Tama for several years before being hired as Secondary Principal last year. His wife, Maegan, serves as the school district's curriculum director and would converse with Meister about everything from the community to the staff.

"We'd talk about how everything was going at the school and she'd talk a lot about how great the people are," Meister said. "She was always excited to do her job and it showed when came home at talked about North Tama."

When previous Principal Paul Rea accepted a similar position at Jesup High School, Meister was among the applicants for the open administration position. Meister's resume included AEA 267 Special School before moving on to the Waterloo West School District after the closing of the former. He has worked as a special education instructor and transition coach, also coaching baseball for the Warhawks. With a list of "desired qualifications" from faculty and staff in hand, Superintendent David Hill narrowed down three candidates for interviews with panels made of teachers, school board members and community members. Meister would be selected and began his duties as principal in July of 2018.

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7-12 Secondary Principal Andrew Meister recently completed his first year with North Tama and is ready to take on his second year as an administrator.

From then on for the new Principal and Athletic Director, the 2018-19 school year consisted of meeting junior high and high school students, working with teachers on a daily basis, attending games and getting to know the community.

"I definitely realized in my first year just how awesome North Tama is," Meister said. "It has phenomenal people, the community has a ton of pride in the school and we have amazing educators in the building. Everyone has a passion here and I'm happy to support the great things going on here."

During his first year at North Tama, the school continue to run programs from last year and immediate changes were not made as Meister worked to grow comfortable in his new role. North Tama continued to partner with Hawkeye Community College to provide college-level courses in a "friendly, comfortable environment" at the school through the ICN room.

"When you go from a large school district to a small one, you have to get used to the different processes and what makes things tick," Meister said. "It was a learning curve for me. Once you get your feet on the ground, you remember if you're making good decisions by way of kids, you're going to be right side up."

During his first year as Athletic Director, Meister watched as the Redhawks achieved success each of the four seasons, including the football program returning to the State playoffs for the first time since 2012, the volleyball team winning 26 games, four track events qualifying for State, and the baseball program repeating as division champions.

"Talk about coming into a year of success," Meister said. "With individual and team success, you can see how this past year kicked off with Coach McDermott, Coach Halstead and Coach Holbach being outstanding people. We had a phenomenal fall season with a state football qualifier, a successful cross country year and the volleyball team being conference champs. It carried over into winter sports with lots of improvements between basketball and wrestling. Spring sports was another great athletic season. Softball and baseball did great things as well."

Meister himself also contributed to the success of Redhawk athletics this year as he coached junior high girls track, which won their conference meet back in May.

"We didn't have a girls junior high track coach surface for us, so I decided to jump in and take the opportunity," Meister said. "I'm not sure how much I ended up teaching those kids, but Judy Boerm and Jeff Jacobs did a nice job of helping with the track knowledge they have. You can't complain when you coach a team that wins a conference championship at the junior high level. They were a fun group of kids to coach."

As Meister looks back and reflects on his first year, what stood out to him most was enjoying the chance to get to know students, stakeholder and learning what is takes to make everything successful.

"That what it's all about when you get into education: seeing kids set goal and reach those goals," Meister said. "I get to work around some really kids and an educational staff that is second to known. I feel our success can be attributed to a lot of factors. Those kids are really great and come from great family support systems. They are competitive, driven, and they have a lot of teachers who have been there for them every step of the way. It really comes down to the type of kids we have here."

Over the summer, the custodial staff has worked to improve the visuals of the school. Updates were made to the gym floor, painting was done in the secondary and the school was primed to welcome back students on Friday.

"I have to give a shout out to the custodial staff on their work," Meister said. "We've made some things kids deserved because we want them to walk into a place that embodies the dedication they give."

For 2019-20, Meister hopes to take a page out of Coach McDermott's and see North Tama take "the next big step" in terms of academics, athletics and system of supports to give "each kid the tools they need to be successful emotionally, socially."

"It will be fun to see who steps up as the new batch of leaders and how athletic success carries over into the day-to-day operations of the school," Meister said. "I'm excited to see how this year takes shape."

The Meisters continue to live in Cedar Falls, but their two young girls attend Pied Piper Preschool and Daycare and he is responsible most days with picking them up. During the drive home, he hears about their day and gives him a way to clear his head even after a tough day.

"I'll never forget year one because of the people," Meister said. "This is a dream come true for me. Tough days aren't that tough when you love what you're doing each day.



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