SIGEL — In a way, Nick Niemerg, the new principal of Sigel St. Michael School, is coming home.
"My mother went here," he said. "My mom grew up on the end of Sigel and all her brothers went here and a lot of my cousins and my grandmother also went here. It's important to me. A little bit of pride comes into the picture."
Niemerg has been working in education for 11 years, teaching science, coaching basketball, track and baseball and most recently serving as the assistant principal at Vandalia High School. He said one of his priorities of working at a private school like St. Michael is being able to instill traditional values into students, as well as providing a quality education.
"I think the biggest thing we want to do here, in talking with the families and the staff, is to continue to move forward to improve ourselves but still hold on to what is important as far as education for the students and faith and character for the students," he said. "We don't want to forget about the hard work, character and ethics that make people the way they are."
One of the new tools the school has at its disposal for student self-improvement is brand new technology. A fleet of mini-laptops and iPads for use in the classroom have allowed technology to be brought to students in ways which give teachers the ability to reach every student. Niemerg said he wanted to stress the idea that although new technology is helpful, it's primarily a tool for teachers, not a replacement for the teacher themselves.
"That's one thing we don't want to get away from," he said. "Our teachers are important; they do a great job. It's just one more thing to enhance the education. The more ways you can present something to a student, the more likely they are to remember it. We're not changing what we're teaching, we're just adapting to the students and the way they learn and the more ways you can present the material to the students, the more likely they are to engage and remember and be successful with it."
Niemerg said despite the addition of new technology in the classroom, the goals of St. Michael remain the same.
"Sigel has produced quality students who have gone to Neoga, Teutopolis, Cumberland and St. Anthony High School for years, so they're obviously doing something right," he said. "I think we are providing quality students to the area high schools and we're not going to change that."
Jackson Adams can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 131, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.