Matt Hoelscher will be Jackson Hole Middle School’s new principal in the fall.
He’s now in his fourth year as assistant principal and previously taught seventh-grade English for 11 years. He is also a high school soccer coach.
“It was pretty sudden, but I’m happy,” Hoelscher said. “It’s the natural progression of things. When this did come open, I was pleasantly surprised and eager to step into the role.”
Current principal Debbie Pfortmiller moved to Jackson two years ago from Kansas, where she worked in the same district as Superintendent Gillian Chapman.
In an email to parents Pfortmiller said it had been a “wonderful experience for me” but she needed to return to Kansas to be closer to family.
One of many reasons Hoelscher is well-suited for the job is his deep appreciation for the middle school years.
“What I’ve always admired about this age group is a willingness to learn during a time of transition in their lives,” he said.
“There are lots of changes going on academically, socio-emotionally and physically, yet at this age they are still kids, and making that connection to their lives is key,” he said.
Middle school also has a unique place in the academic timeline.
“Coming out of elementary school and looking at high school on the horizon, it’s the time to establish good academic habits,” Hoelscher said. “They’re trying to figure out who they are as young people so when they do get into high school they have a clear direction and a path laid out in front of them by having a better idea of who they are as a student and as a person.”
Hoelscher doesn’t have plans to make major changes next year. There will be a slightly different schedule, but he said that will be an “adjustment for teachers more so than students” and “students will be fine.”
What won’t change? The tight-knit community.
“What’s unique about the middle school is that we are the only middle school, and we are the feeder program from all the different elementary schools in the district,” Hoelscher said. “There is a strong sense of community at the middle school and I look forward to continuing that.”