Catholic School Hires Kruska as Principal
Upon visiting the Sandhills area, Rick Kruska knew Moore County was the place he wanted to be.
Kruska is the new principal of Pope John Paul II Catholic school in Southern Pines.
"We absolutely fell in love with the community," Kruska said. "It's quite a breath of fresh air.
"At our stage of our life, we were looking for something with a better quality of life and we couldn't have found a better spot."
He said his main focus when he arrives will be to "start telling the story of how great the school can be and get the enrollment up."
Kruska said the critical factors to growing a school are making the academic programs stronger, and making the school environment more welcoming to everyone.
A new school campus is under construction on Camp Easter Road in Southern Pines.
Jim Gaddy chaired the school's search committee for a new principal. He said he knew Kruska was the right fit immediately.
"We had about a dozen applicants," Gaddy said. "It came through in our first conversation that he stood out over and above any of the other candidates we had."
Gaddy said it was Kruska's experience in both the business world and in the field of education that made him a front-running candidate.
"He brings experience that a young school needs," Gaddy said. "He can take them to the next level. I am impressed with his knowledge and his thinking about taking the school forward in terms of academic and religious values."
Kruska holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from California State Northridge, a master of business administration degree from Southern Methodist University and a doctorate from Loyola Mary-mount University.
He taught school in California and in Texas before becoming a principal.
Kruska has extensive experience in the business world.
He was a senior executive for Nokia. Previously he worked for X-Cel, a company focused on educational programs using athletics to enhance the development of youth. He has also served as a vice president of several communications and marketing companies.
He returned to education in 2001.
He has family in the area, and his wife is also a teacher.
Contact Tom Embrey at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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