Hillsboro High School has been a part of Max Heinrichs’ life since his first day of kindergarten.
From those early days of school, to coaching and teaching positions after his 1979 graduation, Heinrichs has loved the maroon and gold.
However, his job today could have some of the people who knew him in school crack a sly smile.
Heinrichs, a husband and father of three girls, switched from athletic director and assistant principal at HHS, to head principal this fall.
“It’s crazy because I was a little ornery,” Heinrichs said of his days at HHS. “But I’ve always loved it here, and I get to give back to something that’s given me a lot.”
Heinrichs was in Hillsboro for all his school days, including his secondary education at Tabor College. After leaving in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health, he took a job as a paraprofessional at HHS.
The next year he had a teaching license and taught special education for four years, as well as being an assistant football coach at the school.
“Those four years shaped me more than anything I did. It’s powerful. It’s good stuff,” Heinrichs said. “It was an awesome experience. I’m glad I did it.”
The next step in his journey to “positively effect the most kids he can,” was out west to Minneapolis High School where he accepted a job as head football and wrestling coach, as well as a teaching position.
Minneapolis was a great situation for him and his family, but he got an “itch” to move back to Hillsboro. His father had died in 1993, and moving back gave him an opportunity to help take care of his mother.
He accepted a job as physical education teacher, as well as assistant football coach at Tabor.
Heinrichs continued in those positions from 1996-2001 when the assistant principal/athletic director position became available. He assumed the duties of those positions until this past fall when he became head principal at HHS.
“I had an itch. It’s kind of like being an assistant coach. I wanted to be the head coach,” Heinrichs said. “I love it here, and I wanted to be the principal.”
Someday Heinrichs would probably like to be a superintendent, and is already certified for the position. However, just a month into being a principal, he is loving it.
“If you ask me now, I’ll say I have the best job in town,” Heinrichs said. “Sure, there’s been some headaches, but what job doesn’t have that?”
With Heinrichs leaving the athletic director’s position, HHS had to find someone to fill the spot. The school hired Robert Rempel, a former Tabor football player and Lyons High School athletic director.
Heinrichs is excited about the future with Rempel.
“We’re really fortunate,” Heinrichs said. “He will do a super job for us. They’ll forget me quick.”
Heinrichs said he is all for someone coming in with fresh ideas, and is ready to listen to whatever Rempel brings to the table.
“I don’t want that guy to fail,” Heinrichs said. “I told him, ‘I will not let you fail.”’
Whether talking about his students, teachers, or athletes, failing is not an option for Heinrichs.
“They are doing the work in the trenches,” he said. “I’m just trying to make sure that I can make their life the easiest it can be.”
The new principal thinks no matter what a person is doing, they should make sure it is the right fit so everyone involved will benefit.
“If you’re not doing something you love, you better be doing something else,” he said.
It’s safe to say, in Hillsboro High School, Max Heinrichs has found something he loves.