O’NEALS – As the time nears for school to resume, personnel changes are being reported throughout the districts, including some notable new additions and a key departure within Minarets High School.
Michael Niehoff has been the principal at Minarets since the school’s inception six years ago.
“I have been a secondary educator since 1990, have always worked in project-based, tech-integrated and student-oriented programs,” Niehoff recounted, adding, “I have always fought for student voice, choice and leadership.”
Minarets Director of Charter Daniel Ching now moves into the role of Principal.
For now, Mike Niehoff is preparing to share his considerable talents elsewhere, leaving Minarets with the stong programs and philosophies that he helped to shape right from the beginning. With his departure, he asks the Minarets community at large to “make it even better,” referring to the school and student experience.
Niehoff has accepted a new position with the Fresno County Office of Education as a Systems and Leadership Coach, a position he’s excited about filling, even as his emotional ties to Minarets remain.
The innovative educator feels it’s been a blessing to work at Minarets, a project-based, tech-infused high school that he says has “challenged students and staff not only to take risks, but to continually aim high, dream big and go all the way professionally.”
An offer of a new position from Fresno County was initially a challenge for dedicated Niehoff to receive, considering he was more than comfortable right where he was, at Minarets.
“This really tested me, as I love my job and my school.” Noting that career transitions are not simple to make, Niehoff said being open to change is part of his own personal philosophy when it comes to education, and that the new direction “will represent my professional growth and development as a lifelong learner.”
Fortunately for Minarets, Daniel Ching will move into the position that Niehoff is vacating, according to Chawanakee Superintendant Bob Nelson. “By unanimous vote of the recommendation committee, Daniel Ching’s name will be forwarded to the Board of Trustees for anticipated approval at the August 12 Board Meeting,” Nelson confirmed, adding that Ching is a “local boy” by any definition of the standard.
“He was in his own mom’s class at North Fork Elementary, and his mom has run Head Start for decades now.”
Daniel Ching went through K-8 at North Fork, and gratuated from Sierra High, before going on to Fresno State. Later, he taught in Lemoore, then returned to Chawanakee District as a teacher at Minarets, followed by a stint as Charter Director, before assuming his new role as Principal.
“It’s exciting to see him serve in his local community,” Nelson continued. “He’s smart, and a really bright and capable young man. To be able to hang onto him for a while is really exciting.”
Meanwhile, the much-appreciated out-going principal Niehoff confirmed a number of hires at Minarets for the new year.
Jill Gamble, who was new and part time last year in Art/Digital Photograpy, is now full time. New part-time Health/PE teacher is Brittany Slaughter, and coming in full-time for the 2014-15 school year are Richard Chapman in Ag Mechanics, Kayla West in English, Michael Vaughan in English, and Brett Moglia in Music.
Congratulations, all around, Minarets High School.