It’s a matter of principle October is National Principal’s Month

Greg Legerski, Pinedale Elementary School

PINEDALE – October is National Principal’s Month and time to recognize the hard work of principals across Sublette County and learn a little more about the people who serve the Pinedale's children.

Eric Makelky, Skyline Academy:

What is the best part about being a principal?

“The best part of being a principal is seeing students and teachers succeed. The payoff with students is seeing them walk the stage at graduation. With teachers, especially ones new to the profession, it’s very rewarding to see them grow their skills and confidence in the classroom.”

What is the biggest challenge?

“Trying to prioritize your time, energy and enthusiasm. Principals are often pulled in all directions, so I have to remind myself that everything I do comes down to two simple responsibilities: keeping students safe and making sure students are learning.”

If you could wish for one thing that could benefit your school, what would that thing be?

“An automotive program would be a great addition to Skyline. If funding and space were unlimited, I would love to offer that as a vocational option for our students.”

What was your path to becoming a principal?

“Growing up the son of a teacher and coach, my career path was the same as my father’s and twin brother’s. I was lucky to start teaching and coaching at Pinedale Middle School in 2009 and had no desire to leave the classroom. But a few years later, the district needed an instructional facilitator, so I decided to give working with teachers a try. The IF program required a master’s degree, so I enrolled in an Educational Leadership program. After an internship with some excellent principals in our district, I felt like I was ready for the challenge of administration.”

Greg Legerski, Pinedale

Elementary School:

What is the best part about being a principal?

“I enjoy waking up and coming to school every day and it’s because of the people. I begin most school days standing in the front hall watching the students enter the school. I know the students are headed to the classroom of a teacher who cares deeply and is willing to ensure that each child learns to their fullest potential. I am proud to be a member of this team and I value the support I am able to provide to our teachers to meet each student’s learning needs.

What is the biggest challenge?

“One of the biggest challenges is balancing the demands that have been placed on schools and teachers through high-stakes accountability models with providing our students with a well-rounded education that meets the needs of the whole child. Fortunately, I feel that we have found a nice balance at PES.”

If you could wish for one thing that could benefit your school, what would that thing be?

“We are blessed with excellent teachers and support staff. However, it seems as if more and more is being asked of our teachers. Standards change and expand, individual student needs grow, every year there is uncertainty in state funding and the pressure to perform well is high. I wish that I could alleviate the pressure felt by our teachers and staff by finding ways to provide them with more time and helpful resources.”

What was your path to becoming a principal?

“I began my educational career 19 years ago teaching sixth grade at Alta Vista Elementary in Cheyenne. In 2005, I earned my master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Wyoming. After seven enjoyable years in the classroom, I moved to Pinedale and began the new challenge of serving as PES’s principal for the past 12 years. During this time, I have learned a lot and can honestly say that I love my job.”

Jeryl Fluckiger, Pinedale Middle School:

What is the best part about being a principal?

“One perk that I really enjoy is having the opportunity to talk with and get to know all of the students in the school. Middle school is a fun age and the conversations are always interesting. I also enjoy going into all of the classrooms on a regular basis to see great teachers provide instruction and listen to students respond and learn.”

What is the biggest challenge?

“Perhaps the biggest challenge is ensuring that all of the students are learning all of the time. Not an easy task with so many unique needs and challenges. Each day brings a new challenge to overcome and this makes the position enjoyable but also challenging.”

If you could wish for one thing that could benefit your school, what would that thing be?

“I always wish for more staff to help our students. This would allow us to provide more opportunities and increase our ability to individualize instruction.”

What was your path to becoming a principal?

“I graduated from Utah State University and began my career teaching industrial arts and technology. I taught those subjects for nine years while also serving as head teacher for two years at junior/senior high school. While serving as the head teacher, I completed my degree in educational administration from Idaho State University. I am currently working on my 18th year as a principal.”

Brian Brisko, Pinedale High School

What is the best part about being a principal?

“One thing that I find really enjoyable is working with high school-age students. This is such an important time in their life and it is great working with them to help prepare them for the future. I also really enjoy working with our amazing staff. They are incredible at providing great instruction and care for the youth of Pinedale.”

What is the biggest challenge?

“In a world that is ever changing and challenging, ensuring that we meet all of the needs of all our students 100 percent of the time.”

If you could wish for one thing that could benefit your school, what would that thing be?

“There are so many things that we have to be grateful for in our district. I guess I would ask for more staff to work with and support our students. This would be a great way to better meet the needs of all our students.”

What was your path to becoming a principal?

“I grew up in Mountain View and graduated from the University of Wyoming. My first job as a teacher and a coach was here in Pinedale. While teaching and coaching, I completed my degree in educational administration from the University of Wyoming. I served as the assistant principal and activities director at PHS for two years and now I am in my second year as principal.”

Janel Scurlock, Assistant Principal at Pinedale Elementary and

Principal of Bondurant Elementary

What is the best part about being a principal?

“There are so many great things about this job. One of the best parts is that, every single day, something or someone makes me laugh. The kids and the staff flood my workday with joy and positive energy. From the silly stories that kids tell me to the staff sharing stories of growth and success, it feels so rewarding. Another ‘best part’ is the daily opportunity to make a kid smile, feel loved and feel empowered by knowledge. Our kids face many challenges in life and I strive to make school a safe, encouraging environment where all students are respected.

What is the biggest challenge?

“My biggest challenge is balancing the roles of mom, wife and principal. All are very important to me and I have high expectations for myself. My staff and I spend so much time and energy on our students that it’s hard to let go and shift gears when the school day ends. I’m grateful to have a wonderful family, which makes it a lot easier.”

If you could wish for one thing that could benefit your school, what would that thing be?

“We have so much to be thankful for in this district; I think I would wish for every child to have an equitable chance in life, along with a safe and loving home environment that supports education as well as encourages each child’s growth and success.”

What was your path to becoming a principal?

“As a child, I always knew I wanted to be an educator. My father was a principal and I’m very proud to follow in his footsteps. I started as a high school Spanish teacher in Kentucky. We moved to Pinedale in 2002 and I found a job teaching preschool at Head Start and adult Spanish classes at BOCES. Realizing I wanted to be back in the classroom, I commuted to teach middle school and Spanish at the alternative high school in Jackson. I then moved to Big Piney to teach Spanish and serve as the English Language Learner coordinator there. I finally landed a job in SCSD No. 1 as an ELL coordinator and in 2012, I became assistant principal at PES and principal at Bondurant Elementary. I am thankful to serve SCSD 1 and look forward to many more years.”

Jake Rich, Assistant Principal

and Activities Director at

Pinedale High School

What is the best part about being a principal?

“The best part about being a principal is the kids. They are ambitious about life and ready to do anything that is asked of them. Each day they teach me lessons about life. It is a privilege to be able to work with them and see the changes they make in their life in order to achieve their dreams.”

What is the biggest challenge?

“There are a lot of challenges that come with any job. I look at the challenges as opportunities to grow and become better. Sometimes I don’t make the correct decision, but this allows me to grow and learn for the next time it comes around.”

If you could wish for one thing that could benefit your school, what would that that thing be?

“As with any job, support is the biggest thing for me. Changes are made frequently in education. My job is to do what is best for kids. As students change and technology advances, I strive to create an atmosphere of respect and rapport where students feel comfortable in their learning environment. When we feel supported in the changes we make, it motivates me to strive a little harder each day.”

What was your path to becoming a principal?

“I taught math education and coached football, basketball and track. I taught in Pleasant Grove, Utah, Baggs and Evanston, before coming to Pinedale.

Greg Legerski, Pinedale Elementary School


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