By Tim Leeds
Chester has received another honor to go with its state championship in girls' basketball.
Bill Schlepp, principal at Chester High School, was named Montana Secondary School Principal of the Year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals.
"It's pretty awe-inspiring," Schlepp said today. "It's amazing that you get those things from your peers. I think it's a plus for our staff and students and community. I don't think you ever get awards by yourself. Having good students and a good community and a good staff to work with always helps."
Schlepp received the award in November in Washington, D.C.
One of the more interesting things about the ceremony was meeting principals from schools around the country. Schlepp said Chester was the smallest school represented at the ceremony, and he was talking to principals of schools with 3,000 students from places like New York City, Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Fla. But they found many common issues among them.
"Throughout the country the issues are still the same," he said, adding that taking care of the students is the main concern everywhere.
But there are some issues, like serious drug problems and gangs, in other schools that make him glad he's in Montana, he said. He said he's also happy he doesn't have to face the magnitude and seriousness of some problems found in many larger schools.
Schlepp, who is also the athletic director for Chester High, said it was nice to get this honor, then get the basketball championship. He said the championship also reflects the quality of the community. Everyone on the team is an excellent student and "just good kids, good citizens," he said.
"It was nice. Anything we can do for our students," he said.
Schlepp, a native of Conrad, has been principal at Chester for 14 years. He received his master's degree from Montana State University-Bozeman in 1985.
MSU-Bozeman was the only university to have three winners selected this year. Kevin Segrud, a principal from New Underwood, S.D., and Terry native Richard Schaal, principal at Worland Middle School in Worland, Wyo., were named Principal of the Year in their respective states.