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Republic School District Names New Principal for New Elementary School


The Republic R-III School District has introduced a new principal for its new elementary school. As KSMU’s Samuel Crowe reports, the school was named after a Union general who served at the Civil War Battle of Wilson’s Creek.

Dr. Elizabeth Engelhart has been named principal of the new Sweeney Elementary. Dr. Engelhart has served Springfield Public School District for the past six years, most recently as principal of Delaware Elementary.

Republic School District Superintendent Chance Wistrom says prior to the economic downturn, the school district was one of the fastest growing in Missouri, and has since remained one the fastest growing districts in the Springfield area. He says a recent demographic study showed that the Republic school district’s 10 year enrollment is expected to increase 20 to 40 percent.

“We need to be prepared to meet that because the way school finance works, if you wait for these students to come in the door, you’re always going to be playing catch up. When it comes to education and providing a positive educational environment, we just can’t afford to play the catch up game.

Sweeney Elementary was named after the Union General Thomas William Sweeney, who was injured during the Civil War Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Wistrom says this continues a practice established in the school district to name every elementary school after generals that fought in the battle.

“Due to the proximity of that national battlefield, we wanted to create a relationship that was visible for all to see,” Wistrom said.

Sweeney Elementary will open its doors for the 2013-2014 school year.

For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.