Heinrichs awarded for leadership

Staff reporter

For Max Heinrichs, his goal was simple — coach high school football.

Now recently recognized as Kansas Assistant Principal of the Year, he feels he has come full circle.

Growing up in Hillsboro, graduating from Hillsboro High School in 1979, and Tabor College in 1983, Heinrich's ultimate goal was to return to his hometown and coach at HHS.

But somewhere along the way, his focus shifted.

Heinrichs did coach football at Minneapolis from 1987 to 1996 and taught physical education and driver's education with his head coaching duties.

Before taking the job at Minneapolis, he was a special education para-professional and teacher at HHS. Those experiences followed him to Minneapolis and his return to Hillsboro.

From 1996 to 2001, Heinrichs taught physical education and health at HHS.

"I felt I had leadership skills that could be useful," Heinrichs said, regarding the shift from teacher to administrator. "And I was encouraged by administrators within the district to go toward administration."

As a youngster in the school district, the last position Heinrichs thought he would ever have was that of an assistant principal.

He explained, with a smile, that he was one of those students who teachers sometimes were glad to see move on.

His duties as assistant principal include disciplining students.

"When I bring down the hammer on a student, I have to smile to myself," Heinrichs said, because he can relate to what the student is experiencing.

Of all of the influences and experiences in Heinrichs' nearly 25-year career, he partly credits his success to his special education experience.

"I'll help every student I can," Heinrichs said, "but I became a champion of those students who aren't gifted or talented."

Heinrichs said he now sees the "bigger picture." Instead of focusing on only one aspect, such as football, he tries to see the whole picture so he can make the best decisions for the entire organization.

Another blessing for Heinrichs as he's traveled life's path is having three daughters. He and wife Krista, who is the national sales representative of Golden Heritage Foods of Hillsboro, have daughters Samantha, a senior, Tara, a sophomore, and Darcy, a fifth grader.

"Living in a house full of women is probably the best thing that could have happened to me," Heinrichs said. He thinks it's made him more gentle and understanding.

And now Hillsboro's own has achieved success among his peers and superiors by being recognized by Kansas Association of Secondary School Principals. In 2004, he was recognized among the north central area.

Heinrichs was nominated with other outstanding administrators from all six areas in the state. Ironically, currently he is serving as the chairman of area three of which USD 410 is a member.

"There were very deserving nominees," Heinrichs said. "I feel very privileged to have been chosen."

As assistant principal and athletic director, Heinrichs' duties include scheduling the use of the buildings within the district, addressing transportation needs of the teams, approving field trips and activities, and he is in charge of the calendar.

He also conducts teacher evaluations and is the high school disciplinarian.

With all of these successes to be proud of, Heinrichs continues to strive for more. He is working toward a certification as a superintendent and his next goal is to be principal.

"I appreciate the opportunity to have the chance to go out and do the things I wanted to do and then come back home," Heinrichs said.