New SuperintendentWritten by Beatriz Reyna
Lexington Public Schools welcomes a new superintendent.
“I believe in the Horace Mann quote that education is the great equalizer. School is place where the have-nots become the haves,” said Dr. John Hakonson, Lexington Public Schools Superintendent.
And after more than 17 years of experience as superintendent Dr. John Hakonson was searching for the next challenge.
That challenge led him to Lexington Public Schools.
He moved here this summer from Sidney where he served as superintendent for ten years.
“If you believe in public education and you want to make a difference in a district where you have students with needs it's where I want to be,” said Hakonson.
Challenges like language barriers, mobility rates, and generational poverty.
“The challenge is to do well on state tests, the NESA tests and that has been a particular challenge for us again because of having so many challenges. We have a lot of students that are trying to learn English. We have students that have come from in some cases Third World countries that don't have an educational foundation similar to most Americans have had. If we're trying to compete in terms of absolute scores with a suburban district the total proficiency rate of our students is not going to be as high,” said Hakonson.
In fact, Hakonsen doesn't view these demographics as challenges but rather as opportunities.
“The students that come here come from parents who are very hard working many of them work at Tyson Plant those are hard jobs and so those parents are not lazy people. I think that is a bright spot for students. If these students work as hard in school as their parents work in their jobs I think they are going to be successful,” said Hakonson.
And while improving LPS is a top priority....Hakonson wants to soak everything in before making any decisions.
“I come in here not with an agenda. I want to listen and learn for the first several months. There is a lot that I have to get up to speed on. We have programs that I am not familiar with such as Migrant Education. We received federal funding to help families who are transient so there are other programs that are quite unique here that I need to get smarter about,” said Hakonson.