Third time is the charm

FHS welcomes new principal


Amelia Southern

Dr. Dostal's causal Friday look invites both students and teachers to approach him. He looks forward to the upcoming years.

Laney Hoggatt, Co Editor-in-Chief

As the new school year begins, the school welcomes its third head principal, Dr. Jay Dostal, in the past four years. John ‘Steve’ Jacoby had the longest term: five years and one year as interim principal. Students and teachers both are excited and hopeful that Dostal will remain at the high school, especially since Dostal has admitted he is committed to staying at least three years so his daughter, who attends FHS, can graduate.

Dostal first started his career in 2001 at Millard West High School in Omaha Nebraska as an English and physical education teacher and football coach. He followed in both his parents’ footsteps, who were also teachers. He held that position for five years until he was offered a job as assistant principal at Millard North High School. In 2010, Dostal was promoted to head principal at Kearney High School. He remained there until taking the job at FHS.

“I had no intention whatsoever of being a principal when I got into education…after my first year, teaching English and physical education [as well as] coaching football, my principal told me I should look into this,” Dostal said. “After one [administration] class, I fell in love with [being an administrator] and knew this is what I wanted to do.”

Dostal is a strong advocate for trying new things and doing things that push a person outside of their comfort zone, which is the main reason he took this job. He also did research on the high school before he accepted the job and admires several aspects of the school.

“I spent the last eight years as a principal in Nebraska and I spent a lot of time talking to teachers about growing and stepping outside their comfort zone and I felt like I would be a hypocrite if I did not do that myself,” Dostal said. “What better way than to move six hundred miles from my home and try something new?”

Every good leader’s success relies on the qualities they contain. Dostal believes there are two main qualities a principal needs to have in order to be successful: knowing how to manage and knowing how to lead.

“The management side is to be organized and being able to handle different processes and make sure they go together smoothly,” Dostal said. “The leadership side of things is different in that you have to be communicative [and collaborate with others], you have to model, and you have to have the vision to achieve that vision.”

Dostal’s education philosophy is somewhat modeled from Google’s first and only rule: do not do evil or do not do harm.

“The way that translates to a school is to do whatever it takes for students to be successful,” Dostal said. “There are always going to be problems, but how can you figure out ways to solve those problems and make sure kids have amazing opportunities.”

He has several plans for the school both short term and long term. Dostal’s short-term plans include learning all staff names and getting to know them, as well as looking at how the school has been run in the past and how the school can improve. Another goal he has is to learn most of the student’s names. He also hopes to resolve all scheduling errors among students. His long-term goals are the overall master schedule, advisory, improving the culture of the school, and making sure students reach their full potential and tell their own stories. His long-term goals are inspired by what he heard from the students on the interview team. He hopes to create an inclusive and safe environment for the students and have a place where the school can come together. He hopes to make advisory effective and helpful to students.

“I would like to have next year’s master schedule done by the end of the year so that we can work through schedule problems and fix them over the summer,” Dostal said.

Dostal is a huge advocate for the term “Own Your Epic.” He has a board with the words on it hanging in his office and the hashtag “#ownyourepic” is all over his twitter account (@jaydostal). What he means by this is that every person has a story and only they can tell their story properly. He wants students to be proud of who they are and tell their story.

“I believe everyone has a story and a right to tell their story [as well as] having a voice because it is worth telling,” Dostal said. “[I want to provide] everybody a chance to share their experiences because it is all important.”

Dostal is more than just a principal. He is a husband and father. Melony Dostal, his wife, is a special education teacher but she has been a stay-at-home mom since their recent move. He has two children: a son and a daughter. His son is a seventh-grader at Ramay Junior High School and his daughter is a sophomore at FHS.

Dostal wants everyone to know that he is actionable and responsive. He wants everyone to know they are welcome to come and talk to him and that they will be heard.

“We are going to do everything we can to be actionable,” Dostal said. “I think the biggest thing that a school can do is to make people feel like they have been heard.”

Dostal has a movable desk that he calls the ‘Mobile Command Station’. He hopes to have this so he can move around the school and greet students while getting the necessary work done. On the ‘Mobile Command Station,’ he has three stickers: a Razorback, a bulldog, and a Fayettechill sticker. He hopes to add more as the years go on. He also carries mints in one of the pockets of his ‘Mobile Command Station.’

He is excited about his future at the school and cannot wait to meet everyone.

“At the end of the day we are all people and it does not matter where we come from,” Dostal said.

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