Kuhnert Named Principal of Valley Southwoods

The West Des Moines Community Schools is proud to announce Mitch Kuhnert as the next principal of Valley Southwoods Freshman High School. The district’s Board of Education approved hiring Kuhnert at its January 28 regular meeting. Kuhnert is currently serving as the school’s interim principal.

“Mitch is a good communicator, he is positive and he makes an effort to get to know individuals, whether students, staff or parents; and he involves stakeholders in decision making,” said Superintendent Dr. Peter Ansingh. “He will continue to be a great asset to the West Des Moines Community Schools in his new role at Valley Southwoods.”

Kuhnert was selected to serve as interim principal of Valley Southwoods for the 2012-13 academic year after previous principal Kent Abrahamson accepted an administrative position in Illinois this summer. Prior to working at Valley Southwoods, Kuhnert served as assistant principal at Stilwell Junior High.

He began his career in education as a mathematics teacher at Platteville High School in Platteville, Wisconsin. While at Platteville, he also served as the math department chairperson. He started working for the West Des Moines Community School District in 2006 as assistant principal at Stilwell. Kuhnert holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in education from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. In addition to his work as a principal, Kuhnert served as a local coach for the Center for Authentic Intellectual Work and is a member of the West Des Moines Police Department’s Youth Justice Initiative Steering Committee.

Administration, teacher, support staff, parent and student representatives were part of the interview committees that assisted with the Valley Southwoods principal selection process.

Valley Southwoods, located at 625 South 35th Street in West Des Moines, opened in the fall of 1997 to serve students in their first year of high school in an interdisciplinary team setting. Teachers provide high-quality instruction with the unique needs of ninth graders in mind. Freshman students enrolled in four core area full-credit courses, physical education and at least one elective course each semester. They are assigned to an interdisciplinary team area in which three or four of their core courses are located. Students get to know each other and their teachers well, they are encouraged to participate in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, and they have varied opportunities to practice leadership.