Shoultz wins Iowa’s Administrator of the Year award

The Iowa High School Press Association deems Principal Gregg Shoultz as Iowa’s Administrator of the Year at its state journalism conference at The University of Iowa today

Principal+Gregg+Shoultz+and+West+Side+Story+adviser+Sara+Whittaker+at+the+IHSPA+state+journalism+conference+on+Oct.+27.

Principal Gregg Shoultz and West Side Story adviser Sara Whittaker at the IHSPA state journalism conference on Oct. 27.

Emma Brustkern, Entertainment Editor

Between the many publications of the West Side Story, and the amazing reveal of the Trojan Epic yearbook each year, there is no doubt that the journalism community at West High is very active. However, none of these projects would be nearly as successful without support. Today, the Iowa High School Press Association deemed West High principal, Dr. Gregg Shoultz, as Iowa’s Administrator of the Year. The 2015-2016 West Side Story staff nominated Shoultz after his first year as principal at West High.

“He had big shoes to fill after Dr. Arganbright retired, and he continued the tradition of a principal who trusts and encourages his student reporters,” said WSS adviser Sara Whittaker. “Not all high school students can say they have a principal who not only cooperates with them and agrees to interviews, but is also an enthusiastic ally and advocate for high school journalism.”

IHSPA presents the Administrator of the Year award to administrators who actively support journalism within their schools. They must meet or fulfill a wide variety of criteria, including support of journalism education, support of school for publication and media outlets, and active contributions to education in general.

WSS news editor Nina Elkadi ‘18 regularly interviews Shoultz, sometimes asking about sensitive topics. “Every time something happened, and I emailed Dr. Shoultz to ask him about it, he was super responsive. . . he was very open about everything and as transparent as he could be about things, which I highly appreciated.”

Shoultz’s contributions go beyond more than just transparency. He is also responsible for the abundance of new broadcasting equipment introduced to West High.

WSS digital editor-in-chief Isabelle Robles appreciates the new equipment.”He set up a whole tricaster system, which is a way to live broadcast,” Robles said. “He set it up for all of our home sports events and we are able to use it to create a live broadcast show.”

In addition to the tricaster system, Shoultz also held a video camp for newspaper staffers and other students before school started this fall. The purpose of the camp was to teach students how to use the new equipment and broaden their options in terms of broadcast journalism. He introduced an entire new broadcast system, which enabled students to start West High Weekly, a student run news show.

WSS broadcast manager and video editor, Layla Hannaford ‘17, believes the broadcast program is better overall since Shoultz came to West High. “Without him, our broadcast system would be almost nonexistent.”

According to WSS staffers, Shoultz maintains a stable balance between being available to student journalists and hands off in the reporting process. “[The WSS] is a student run publication,” Elkadi said. “If [we] think something is up, [we] can write about it. We don’t need direct administrative approval for anything that we publish. In fact, our paper is never looked over by Dr. Shoultz before it’s [printed]. I think that’s super valuable because we feel like we actually do have a voice and administrators aren’t hindering us from doing what we need to do.”

Robles agrees and credits Shoultz with helping students flourish in the newsroom.“If an administrator is very open to letting students create what they want to create, and telling stories that they want to tell, then we can grow as journalists,” Robles said.

Above all, many WSS staffers think of Shoultz as an important ally to student journalists. “He’s very supportive and whenever you want to do something, he’ll support you in learning what you want to learn and starting what you want to start,” Hannaford said. “I think he has gone above and beyond.”